From Goodreads: Violet Mackerel has moved into her new house. There is a girl next door who could be a possible friend. Her name is Rose and she has a pink and white bedroom and a doll’s house. Violet hopes that Rose might not be just a possible friend for very long. Instead, she would quite like Rose to be a very good friend.
Thoughts: This is the fourth book I've read for the Children's Book Council younger readers short list.
The Violet Mackerel books are a lovely little series. I reviewed the first one in the series, Violet Mackerel's Brilliant Plot for the 2011 short list. This is the 5th one in the series and I read it during a one hour stint on the check out counter at work one slow night. I was so happy to be drawn back into Violet's world that I then got number 2,3 and 4 and pretty much read them the same way over the next couple of weeks.
In this particular volume, Violet discovers a knot in the fence at her new house. When she accidentally pushes it out, she leaves a small thing and a note to apologise. Soon Violet and Rose from next door have exchanged small things via the knot and have arranged a play date. When Violet goes to Rose's, she discovers that quite unlike her house and room, Rose's place is tidy, sparkly and new looking. Now Violet is worried her less than tidy, sparkly and new house is not good enough for Rose.
Branford beautifully explores Violet's insecurity and fear, giving a wonderful insight into issues that appear big to children, that adults may just dismiss. I love the wonderful caring support Violet gets not only from her mum and step-dad, but her older sister and brother. Branford writes a family that is full of love and support, a family that clearly reaps the benefit of such a relationship. I also love that in this apparently perfect family, tempers still run short and children get grumpy.
Violet Mackerel books are beautifully written and easily accessible. I highly recommend them for younger readers.