In Violet Mackerel’s Remarkable Recovery Violet comes up with her ‘theory of giving small things’: if someone has a problem and you give them something small, like a stone or a feather, that small thing might have a special way of helping them. Which is just as well. Violet must have a tonsillectomy. When the doctor suggests her voice might sound a little different after the operation, Violet decides she will have the voice of an opera singer and she will sing on the radio. So when Dr Singh gives her a small purple lozenge to help her sore throat, Violet decides it might contain a little bit of his singing name which will be very helpful for her opera voice. And when Violet befriends an old lady called Iris MacDonald in the hospital waiting room, her theory of giving small things takes on a perspective even Violet could not have predicted.
The books in this series are absolutely delightful. Anna Branford has created an endearing character, in Violet, whose out-of-the-box thinking is as refreshing as it is amusing. Violet’s mix of creativity and pragmatism make for the types of plots young readers will immediately relate to. And they will love the practical activities and suggestions at the back of the book.
Sarah Davis’s winsome illustrations are an exquisite match for the text. This heart-warming series is sure to be a hit. Highly recommended.
Walker Books 2010
(A version of this review appears in Magpies Vol 26, Issue 2, May 2011)