Published by: Atheneum Books for Young Readers; Reprint edition (May 21, 2013)
Available in: hardcover, paperback, Kindle, NOOK
At the time of this review there were six books in the Violet Mackerel series.
Violet Mackerel’s Natural Habitat is a quiet, thoughtful book with a sweet protagonist, a microscopic view of the natural world, and an elegant story structure that circles back to, of all things, wildlife stuck in a mall food court.
Our hero is the smallest in her family, so she feels real empathy for the smallest creatures. As Violet nudges pebbles and fennel leaves aside in search of a ladybug in her garden, the reader is completely in tune with Violet’s theory that, “The trick of helping small things… is to understand them.” Smart girl.
The reader gains some smarts, too, as the complete life cycle of a ladybug is covered in the book’s interior. This might sound as if the plot and story are slow and dry, but happily, that’s not the case. Just as Violet quietly watches and interacts with the natural world, she also gently navigates the organic rhythms of her family structure, including a grumpy sister and a moody brother.
I find Violet similar in temperament to the sweet Daisy Dawson, which is a refreshing club of innocent, tender girls. There’s not a snarky comment around (other than by siblings).
The illustrations are equally soft and evocative, but also funny. It’s a nice compliment to the very serious text.
What do you say teachers, parents and writers? Use the comment below and let’s chat….