Violet Mackerel's Formal Occasion by Anna Branford

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Ill. by Sarah Davis. Walker Books, 2015. ISBN 9781925081091
Highly recommended for readers from 6+. Another enchanting story in the Violet Mackerel series, that celebrates friendship, family, thoughtfulness and creativity. Sarah Davis's illustrations are engaging, a perfect match to the simple, delightful story of Violet, her family and friends.
Rosie and Violet are twig-digging at Clover Park, keen to discover a hidden or lost treasure. Violet's love of reading archaeology books from the library has lead them to this new hobby. To their amazement, they uncover a dirty, dusty old locket. With Vincent and older sister Nicola's help, they clean and polish their find, a little heart-shaped locket with a broken chain. After pondering about the original owner, they thoughtfully decide to share the ownership, wearing the locket on alternate days. The next morning the girls are buzzing with excitement as they dress for a special formal occasion a tea party with Rose's grandparents at the BOATHOUSE. Family life is busy, Vincent is making Saturday breakfast pancakes, Mum is finishing off the knitted toys ready for sale at the shop while Nicola and Rose help Violet with her hair and clothes.
Lost and found is an underlying thread throughout this junior novel, Mum loses her basket of knitted toys when she helps an old lady at the train station, the girls find the locket and discover the joys of fine dining. Veronica and Max, Rose's grandparents use imaginative storytelling to help the girls understand a way to get over losing something precious.
Violet and Rose decide to cheer Mum up by making up stories about all the people who are playing with her knitted toys and they share their locket with her. They make a perfect plan, a surprise FORMAL OCCASION for Mum, after she spends the whole week remaking all the little creatures and delivering them to the toy shop.
Rhyllis Bignell