Violet Mackerel: Oh How I Adore Thee
The Violet Mackerel series, written by Anna Branford, illustrated by Sarah Davis and published with care by Walker Books, is without a doubt the series that I will most remember from my children’s early reading years. I have read the eight books in the series to them and with them, and have recently watched with delight as PudStar has re-read them alone and been transported again into the beautiful world that Anna and Sarah have created. Anna Branford’s writing is warm and whimsical and her evocative descriptions of the tinniest delights in life take you right inside Violets world: her family; friends; her collections of small things; her musings on life and her theories. I’ve heard so many children and adults alike say, ‘I was (or am!) Violet Mackerel…she is me!’ and this is a sure sign of an author who has connected with her audience – read more about Anna in my interview with her here.
Sarah Davis is a masterful illustrator whose style varies greatly between book projects, always perfectly complementing and extending upon the work of the author – you can read more about Sarah in my interview with her here. It’s a tough choice, as I will always adore ‘Fearless’ and his dog poo on the Persian rug, but her work on the Violet Mackerel series is my favourite of her illustration projects, and we are so very lucky to have some of her artworks from Violet Mackerel on our walls at home; I spend far too much time staring at them intently (hoping to be sucked into them actually). Sarah Davis has taken Anna Branford’s plucky little protagonist and depicted her exactly as I would have imagined her; wispy hair; expressive (often fierce) eyes and at all times slightly disheveled and surrounded by buttons, twine and stuff.
To purchase any of these titles click on cover images of title links.
Our Year Three were earlier this year studying Violet Mackerel and I sent their comments on the series to Walker Books (benefits of a librarian who blogs…ha!). Some time later we found out that eight of those comments were to be used as the ‘recommendations’ on the back of the brand spanking new paperback versions of Violet Mackerel – the first four of which have just been released in time for Christmas gift giving. Today we presented the first four girls with their paperbacks (thanks Walker Books!) and they were beside themselves. These girls will now have their names displayed in bookstores around the country promoting a series that could not be more beautiful if it tried and I am so proud of them. So very proud. Have I mentioned before that I love my job?
The whole series in paperback is below (click to purchase), and in equally as exciting news…the Violet Mackerel craft book, ‘How to Make Small Things with Violet Mackerel’ is also back in print…wahoo! My full review of this book is here and I ran creative crafting workshops for Brisbane City Council using this book earlier in the year; it is the perfect companion book to the series. With permission from Walker Books I recreated Violet’s wrist warmers from the book here. I adore that Anna Branford has created a craft book that is so very, very Violet and Anna herself is an amazing maker of tiny, felted fairies, elves and other treasures, some of which will be on sale at her ‘Creating a Welcome’ online and offline market supporting the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre.
“I love Violet Mackerel because Violet is always solving problems and coming up with theories and plots.” Ava, aged 8. ‘Violet Mackerel’s Brilliant Plot’ “I like the Violet Mackerel books because she has lots of adventures and she cheers people up.” Jinani, aged 9. ‘Violet Mackerel’s Remarkable Recovery’
“I thoroughly recommend the Violet Mackerel books because when I read them, I feel like I am Violet!” Beth, aged 9. ‘Violet Mackerel’s Natural Habitat’“I love the Violet Mackerel series. They make me want to read more and more” Grace, aged 8. ‘Violet Mackerel’s Personal Space’
Instructions for the wrist warmers below (made from socks!) are here.
If you are looking for a series for young readers from five – nine (to ninety), this is the one. Utterly collectible and perfect for gift giving, Violet Mackerel is a modern day classic that will be treasured always. The gift book is a perfect one for Christmas, where long days can be spent stitching, sticking and scissoring. I have given ‘How to Make Small Things with Violet Mackerel’ to many young crafters with some of the materials to complete one of the projects, rather than purchasing one of those ‘one time use’, over-priced, low on skill building, not at all earth friendly, over-packaged department store craft kits (sorry…rant endeth here!).
Long live Violet Mackerel…there are some books that you just know will be stay with you always.