Violet Mackerel's remarkable recovery by Anna Branford
Ill. by Sarah Davis. Walker, 2011. ISBN 9781921529184
(Age 6-9) Highly recommended. Violet Mackerel's Brilliant Plot is on the shortlist for the CBCA Younger Readers Award, and this companion volume is equally as good as the first. Violet has had many sore throats and Dr Singh decides it is time for her to have her tonsils out. Violet is not too happy about this but decides that she will make a remarkable recovery and that her voice will improve so much that she will be able to sing opera on the radio.
Violet is such a wonderful character. Her warm and positive nature is quite inspiring without being didactic. Violet mentions the small things that she has observed having an impact, like the little flower that Mum's boyfriend brings her and the hug that she is sure is in the scarf that Mum has knitted and she thinks about 'The Theory of Giving Small Things'. This moving idea is one that could engender lots of discussion if the story is read aloud and shared. Children (and adults) could come up with ideas of small things that they could give to make people happy. Thinking outside the square helps Violet find the elderly lady she met at the hospital, and this too is a fabulous concept to introduce to young children.
I love the special feeling of family love that shines through the whole book. Mum, her boyfriend Vincent and siblings Nathan and Nicola are warm and loving. Sarah Davis' illustrations bring these characters to life for the reader. Violet's exuberance and thoughtfulness are highlighted, and Mum is drawn as a wonderful loving person that everyone would like to know.
This is an outstanding book that deserves to be in every library. Although the cover may be more appealing to young girls, I believe that this book would be welcomed by boys especially if read aloud. The humour and thoughtful ideas will be enjoyed by all. A website with activities and downloads, as well as a competition, supports the series.