Shrinking Violet (by Lou Kuenzler)

I had never heard of Lou Kuenzler but I like reading children's books from time to time, and the blurb of this looked like an enjoyable story when I saw it on the Bookbag site.  I was not disappointed.

'Shrinking Violet' is the story of young Violet who has finally grown big enough to be able to ride on the scary Plunger at her local theme park. She persuades her parents to take her there, but just as they are about to get on the ride, she starts to shrink... in a style rather reminiscent of the Mrs Pepperpot series, one of my childhood favourites.

The book is full of action - first Violet's attempts to stay alive in a busy park when she is only a few inches tall, including some scenes with huge worms and other creatures, and then, in subsequent chapters, her wish to prove her grandmother innocent of a series of burglaries.  She's a likeable child, and most of the book is written from her perspective. She has a special friendship with her grandmother which is strengthened during this book.

The writing is fast-paced without being exhausting, and there are even a few ethical issues raised, which might lead to useful discussion. Like Mrs Pepperpot, the story is set in the real world with just the one strange fantasy element, and although Violet herself is believable enough, as is her grandmother, there are also some amusingly caricatured people.

I don't think this would be very easy to read aloud, since there are some large capitalised words in strange fonts. However, it seems perfect for a confident reader of about six or above - and has the stamp of approval from a young friend of mine, aged six-and-three-quarters, who is a newly cofident reader but was not at all phased by the odd fonts.


You can also read my longer review of Shrinking Violet at the Bookbag site. 

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