Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Review & guest blog post Violet and the Hidden Treasure by Harriet Whitehorn & Becca Moor (Children's, 7 years +, 10E/10E, short 'n' sweet review)

26th March 2015, Simon and Schuster, 208 pages, Paperback, Review copy 

Summary from Simon and Schuster 
Violet has spent her holidays exploring India with Godmother Celeste, including visiting Celeste's good friend the Maharajah and meeting his very special cockatoo. But when she returns home, Violet gets a surprise visit from the Maharajah's butler, asking her to look after the bird. Violet couldn't be more amazed (and her cat Pudding couldn't be less pleased…), but the cockatoo holds the key to the Maharajah's fortune, and someone is trying to bird-nap her! Can Violet discover who the culprit is before they succeed?

Nayu's thoughts
I see Violet's name and instantly think 'adventure, amazing climber'. Sadly Violet can't add amazing actress to her substantial list of skills which help her locate the hidden treasure, but thankfully she has others she can rely on for that. I love how the illustrations enhance the delightful tale, making me laugh especially when Violet gets a lot of visitors in one day. Of all the things to take care of, a parrot isn't the easiest to manage or to hide. There are several 'oh no!' moments which had me feel sorry for Violet even though I was certain everything would work out by the end (it did). Roll of book 3 of this rereadable series! (I thought I'd reviewed book 1, so it might be on my list of books to review at some point).

Three Favourite Literary Heroines from Harriet

Nayu here! It's a real pleasure to have Harriet here and learn about fictional girls she likes - I know and like 2 of the 3 - how many do you know and like?

Children’s books are full of good female characters so whittling it down to a few is tricky but these three are the girls that, for me, really jump out from the pages.

Jo from Little Women by Louisa M Alcott
Winona Ryder as Jo
 I know I am not alone in having Jo as one of my favourites; I remember the fuss when Winona Ryder was cast as her in the film in the 1990’s because she was thought too pretty to be Jo, while no one really cared who played Beth or Amy. And it is that magical combination of Jo not being a beauty, combined with her brains and outspoken tomboyishness that is so winning. She is instantly set her apart from the fairy tale princess ideal – pretty and polite – that little girls are bombarded with. I have to admit though, she did slightly let me down by not marrying Laurie, who I was totally in love with, but never mind… onto the next…
Nayu: I know & like Jo but was more of a Beth girl (Amy's funny & Meg is Meg ^o^)

Dido Twite from the Wolves Series by Joan Aiken
 The Wolves of Willoughby Chase is one of my favourite children’s books and partly because of Bonnie’s feistiness. But she absolutely pales in comparison with the marvellous Dido Twite. Cunning, bold, and with no boundaries, Dido is a delight. And refreshingly she’s no beauty either – she’s described as looking shrewish – and ‘her straw coloured hair was stringy and sticky with jam and she wore a dirty satin dress two sizes too small for her.’ 
Nayu: not my kind of read.  

Lyra from His Dark Materials Trilogy by Philip Pullman
Dakota Fanning as Lyra
 Lyra is a little like Dido – she is the ‘half-wild, half-civilised girl’ who takes us on Pullman’s amazing adventure through his parallel world and she has become one of the best known characters in modern children’s literature. Not much bothered by matters such as telling the truth, she nevertheless has an incredibly strong sense of loyalty and justice, and knows no fear, raising her fists to battle with everything that Pullman throws at her.
Nayu: Although quite deep a story, Lyra was cool ^o^ 

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