Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Violet Mackerel's Brilliant Plot

Violet Mackerel's Brilliant Plot

Anna Branford
Illustrator:  Elanna Allen 
Fiction  Series
For ages 6 to 9
Simon and Schuster, 2012   ISBN: 978-1442435865

Violet Mackrel is convinced that when you find something on the ground, something such as a penny or a button, that the find indicates that you have just thought of something very important. You should endeavor to remember what you were thinking at the moment when you saw the object because it could be vital. Violet calls her idea the Theory of Finding Small Things.

   One Saturday morning the family sets off for the market as usual. Violet’s mother is selling the knitted goods that she has made, and Violet’s big sister is selling earrings. Violet’s big brother is playing the violin to earn a little money. Then Violet sees a red button lying on the ground. She tries to remember what she was thinking about when she saw the button, and realizes that she was thinking about the Blue China Bird that she would love to own. The bird is for sale at the market and it costs ten dollars, which Violet cannot afford. Violet goes and sits in the family van and starts putting together a plot because getting her Blue China Bird is going to require a plot.

   Violet’s mother is a big believer in “thinking outside the box” so Violet decides that she too needs to think about her problem in a new way. She does this, and though she does get some “quite good plots,” she does not come up with any plots that are “brilliant.”

   Then, quite by accident, Violet comes up with a plot that is “brilliant.” She will be an archeologist and make an important discovery, one that will be worth lots of money. With her earnings she will finally be able to buy the Blue China Bird. At home later that day Violet sets about digging up the back yard so that she can make an important and lucrative archeological find, but unfortunately her idea does not turn out as planned. She makes a mess of the yard and she has nothing to show for all her work. It is all very discouraging.

   In this sweet and gently funny story we meet a girl who, even with she is sorely tested, does not lose faith. Readers will be delighted when they see how the Violet’s quest turns out. Perhaps there is something to Violet’s theory after all.