Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Violet Mackerel's Natural Habitat

Violet Mackerel's Natural Habitat
author: Anna Branford
illustrator: Elanna Allen

Violet Mackerel's Natural Habitat

Genre: Chapter Book

Summary (from the publisher):  Violet is back with a little bit of helpfulness and a whole lot of heart in this third book of the effervescent Violet Mackerel series.

Violet is the smallest in her family, and has a special affinity for Small Things everywhere. So when she finds a tiny ladybug in the garden, she expects she knows how it feels. It probably has to go to bed before all the others, and whenever it finds out something interesting (like that your ears keep growing all your life even when you are old), the bigger ladybugs probably say they already knew.

Violet wants to help the ladybug, so she names her Small Gloria, puts her in a jar, and feeds her cheese toast. And then Violet wakes up to a horrible surprise. But thankfully, even as Violet learns a hard lesson about natural habitats, she realizes how nice it is to share her own habitat with a big sister.

Amelia's Review:  This book was just ok.  It wasn't as interesting as the other books that I like to read.  But I liked learning about ladybugs.

Marcie's Review:   I am trying to get Amelia to branch out in reading, so I made her read this book in the car on the drive to Glen Carbon before she could read a Boxcar Children book.  I think her low rating reflected her anger in not being able to read the book she wanted to read.  I will have to think of a new way to encourage her to read different types of books that will result in her actually liking them.

I really liked this cute chapter book about a seven year old girl who helps her sister with a natural science fair project. While this is ostensibly a book about science and habitats, it is also more importantly a book about siblings.  I loved how Violet described her siblings (her 11 year old sister Nicola is "always grumpy" and her 13 year old brother is "going through a stage") and my heart melted when the younger sister tried to cheer up the older sister, and the older sister let the younger sister help with her project.  I also appreciated that Violet isn't a total girly-girl; she loves nature, bugs, birds and her rainboots, just like most little girls (and chapter books about girls don't often reflect that).  The illustrations are also charming.   There isn't much action in this book, but I thought it had some funny parts (although possibly kids would miss them).

Interestingly, this book was clearly not written in the US, which resulted in a few out-of-the-ordinary words, like petrol.  As I was reading it, I caught a few other tricky words, like queasy, in addition to the science words, like larvae and pupae, which could make this book a little challenging for some seven year olds (I assume that is the target audience).

Amelia's Rating: 2 stars

Marcie's Rating: 4 stars

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