Introducing Violet Mackerel, a charismatic new chapter book star with a zest for life and an endearing, relatable voice akin to Ramona Quimby and Junie B. Jones.
Violet is a seven-year-old with a knack for appreciating the smallest things in life: her “Theory of Finding Small Things” states that the moment of finding a tiny treasure usually coincides with the moment of having a genius idea. This creative little girl always strives to think outside the box, so when she spots a small china bird that she desperately wants, she forms an imaginative plan for getting it—and her methods are anything but ordinary! Violet Mackerel’s Brilliant Plot is the first book in an irresistibly charming series starring Violet and her family that has pitch-perfect perspective and plenty of laugh-out-loud humor.
Anna Branford was born on the Isle of Man and spent parts of her childhood in Africa and in Papua New Guinea. Now she lives in Melbourne, Australia, with a large black cat called Florence. She writes, drinks cups of tea in her garden, and makes dolls and other small things, which she sells at early morning markets.Anna is the author of the Violet Mackerel series. Visit her at AnnaBranford.com.
Elanna Allen lives in New York with her husband and sons, where she writes and illustrates children’s books and designs characters for television. She wrote and illustrated Itsy Mitsy Runs Away and has created characters for Disney, Nickelodeon, and PBS. Stop by and say hi at ElannaAllen.com.
Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers (August 28, 2012)
“A collection of small things and a generous gesture win Violet Mackerel the Blue China Bird she’s admired for weeks at the Saturday-morning market….The gentle, present-tense narration reflects the thinking of an imaginative and quite determined 7-year-old, following the model of elders who envision goals and work toward them. She’s not always realistic about her own abilities. Her theory of the importance of small things mirrors the series of small moments that make the story…. Allen’s grayscale drawings enliven almost every page…. Violet and her family are original and appealing, a lovely addition to any chapter-book collection of characters.”
– Kirkus Reviews, June 13, 2012
“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.”
– Horn Book Magazine, September/October 2012
“Violet has a marvelous world view…. Debut author Branford and illustrator Allen offer up a charming new chapter book star, who is sure to appeal to fans of Sara Pennypacker’s Clementine or Paula Danzinger’s Amber Brown.”
– Booklist Online
"7-year-old Violet desperately wants a beautiful china bird from the flea market. But to raise the ten bucks to buy it, she'll need to master a new skill: outside-the-box thinking. The results are as warm as VIolet is funny, and the tale ends on the sweetest of notes."
– FamilyFun Magazine
"This is a sweet story about a likable little girl who just longs for something small...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."
– School Library Journal, December 2012
“Large type on roomy pages ushers newly minted chapter book readers into the world of charming and resourceful Violet Mackerel…. Generous artwork--sometimes cameo-size, other times anchoring a two-page spread--provides a window into Violet's daily life.
Violet gives girls what Captain Awesome gives boys: a strong character, a large dose of comedy and a sense of adventure.”
– Shelf Awareness, November 30, 2012
Awards and Honors
Beverly Cleary Children's Choice Award Nominee (OR)