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Capture the Flag
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Kate Messner


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Violet Mackerel's Brilliant Plot (series #1) PDF Print E-mail













What You Need to Know:
• A young girl has her heart set on a pretty Blue China Bird and is determined to find a way to get it.
• Short chapters make this book very accessible for newly independent readers.
• It is briefly mentioned that Violet's dad left them, but few details are provided.
Violet Mackerel's Brilliant Plot is also published in the UK and Australia, although each of the three versions is
  illustrated by a different artist.
• This is a new series for the United States. Books two and three are expected in 2013, although they have previously
  been published in Australia.
Sweet Book Summary:
In this lighthearted book, readers are introduced to Violet, a sweet little girl with big ideas. She's a creative child with a vivid imagination. She has her own theory about the connection between important ideas and lost treasures. She attempts to think "outside the box" and clearly demonstrates how different that kind of thinking can be from ordinary problem solving. Violet also tries to apply her mom's "If you see it, you can be it" philosophy as she practices archaeology in her backyard. No dinosaur bones are found, but the result is some unexpected family gardening!

This entertaining story focuses on Violet and her family. They spend their Saturdays at a local market where Violet's mom sells her handmade knit items. Violet's brother plays music there to earn money for a camera, and her sister sells earrings so she can save for a special haircut. They each have their own goals, and Violet discovers that she has one too. She desperately wants a Blue China Bird from a nearby booth, but she doesn't have the money to buy it. Can she come up with a way to solve her problem?

It's hard to know where to begin because there is so much that I love about this story. The characters are unique, interesting and very genuine. Violet is determined, kind, thoughtful, and clever. Although in some ways she seems wise beyond her years, she still manages to maintain an air of innocence, hope and wonder. She's an independent girl who sometimes wears pajamas under her skirt just because she feels like it. The relationship between Violet and her mother is warm and caring. They share ideas and her mom offers her comfort, support and advice. The story conveys valuable concepts such as the positives of earning something special, the importance of believing in yourself, the possibilities that come with trying new things, and the beauty of giving away something close to your heart to benefit someone in need. Finally, the grayscale illustrations perfectly mirror Violet's balance of sophistication and playfulness. Both the text and the illustrations are a timeless treasure and a welcome addition to the world of early chapter books.
Author: Anna Branford Illustrator: Elanna Allen Published: 2012, 112 pages
Themes: Character/Values, Divorce, Family Life, Self-Awareness Discovery
Sweet Discussion Questions:
• What do you think of Violet's "Theory of Finding Small Things"?
• In what ways can you think outside the box?
• Where do you go when you need to think clearly?
• When you have a problem, is there someone special that you can turn to for help? How does that person help you?
• Why does it feel different when you give something away versus selling it?
• What can you do to earn something that you've been hoping to get?
If You Liked This Book, Try:
Clementine, Sara Pennypacker
Daisy Dawson on the Farm (series #5), Steve Voake
The Lobster Chronicles: Lower the Trap, Jessica Scott Kerrin
Ivy & Bean, Annie Barrows
This recommendation was written by: Melissa G.
Support Independent Book Shops: Click Here to Buy this Book on IndieBound
 

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