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About The Book

The charming Violet Mackerel must overcome self-doubt to make a new friend in this fifth illustrated chapter book of a delightful series.

Violet Mackerel hopes and hopes that her new next door neighbor, Rose, might turn out to be a very good friend.

But even after a nice morning at Rose’s house, Violet still has quite a few worrying thoughts. Is she too messy for Rose’s tidy family? Will Rose be disappointed that the ice in Violet’s house comes from a plastic tray instead of a special box with fancy tongs? Will Violet wear the wrong sort of costume to Rose’s flower-themed birthday party? And what if the present Violet brings is a good bit smaller than the other presents?

Luckily a helpful older sister, a big imagination, and a particularly brilliant idea just might turn Violet’s possible very good friend into a definite one.

About The Author

Photograph courtesy of the author

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

About The Illustrator

Photograph courtesy of the illustrator

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

Product Details

  • Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers (May 6, 2014)
  • Length: 128 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781442494572
  • Grades: 1 - 5
  • Ages: 6 - 10
  • Lexile ® 1040L The Lexile reading levels have been certified by the Lexile developer, MetaMetrics®

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Raves and Reviews

"The fifth installment in this early chapter book series is as whimsical and honest as ever. Young readers will delight in the enthusiasm that Violet and Rose devote to their playdates and the attention to detail that they give to the teeny, tiny notes that they pass back and forth through the small knothole in the fence bordering their houses. Violet is a lover of all small things, being one of them herself, and that comes across deliciously. . . . Charming grayscale illustrations, again sketched by Allen, connect and expand upon the text. Fans of Junie B. Jones, Clementine, and Amber Brown will happily add Violet to their reading shelves as well."

– School Library Journal, March 2014

"This is a gentle story of kindred spirits recognizing each other, and a happy addition to this continually excellent series."

– Booklist, April 2014

"Just right for newly independent readers, this fifth adventure about Violet Mackerel finds her exploring a new home and wishing for a friend. The author gets Violet’s perspective pitch-perfect, exposing her anxieties about fitting in while also showing children they are not alone in their worries about adjusting to unfamiliar surroundings and people. Plentiful grayscale illustrations zero in on the child’s emotions, and the fluid prose makes this an ideal read-aloud for the whole family."

– School Library Journal, "Invitations to Imagination" Summer Reading List for K-3, May 2014

Awards and Honors

  • Cybils Award Finalist

Resources and Downloads

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More books from this author: Anna Branford

More books from this illustrator: Elanna Allen

More books in this series: Violet Mackerel