Violet Mackerel's Brilliant Plot

illus. by Elanna Allen. 103p. S & S/Atheneum. 2012. Tr $14.99. ISBN 978-1-4424-3585-8; pap. $5.99. ISBN 978-1-4424-3586-5; ebook $5.99. ISBN 978-1-4424-3587-2. LC 2011022584.
Gr 1–3—Every Saturday seven-year-old Violet Mackerel accompanies her mother, sister, and brother to the local market where her mother tries to sell her knitted goods. When she covets a special blue china bird but does not have 10 dollars to pay for it; she needs to concoct a brilliant plan to come up with the money. Can she try digging in her backyard to unearth ancient dinosaur bones? Will she be able to think of something she can knit and sell? This is a sweet story about a likable little girl who just longs for something small. While Violet is still a unique character, she is much more subdued than Judy Moody or Junie B. Jones, and there is definitely an audience for a quiet but creative heroine. Black-and-white drawings, some full page, add touches of whimsy and humor. A charming easy reader that also serves as a thoughtful, gentle read-aloud.—Elizabeth Swistock, Jefferson Madison Regional Library, VA
Seven-year-old Violet Mackerel has one firm belief, which she calls the Theory of Finding Small Things: when you have a really great idea, you will find something small and special on the ground as confirmation. One day, when she is admiring a particular blue china bird at the outdoor market where her mother sells her knitting, she spies a red button. That settles it: the bird is not just a wish but an important idea. It’s an idea, however, that costs ten dollars, which is ten more than Violet has at the moment. Violet wants to raise money like her older siblings do when they need something, but she knows that in order to obtain the beautiful blue bird, she needs a "brilliant plot." Her plan for digging up something of archaeological significance ends with nothing more than a torn-up backyard. Her next plan (to sell one of her own creations at the market) backfires in the best possible way when she decides to give the item away to someone who needs it -- and sets off a chain of events that eventually leads to her heart’s desire. Violet is a true original: a complicated heroine for new readers who is neither stereotypically spunky nor silly. She needs her mother’s gentle guidance but is able to solve little problems all by herself. Will there be a sequel? Let’s hope so. (Final illustrations not seen.) robin l. smith

Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing