Saturday, February 13, 2016

Violet and the Pearl of the Orient by Harriet Whitehorn illustrated by Becka Moor

Well it has happened again.  I have found another fabulous book.  Violet and the Pearl of the Orient is perfect.  Firstly take a look at the cover.  The image here doesn't really show you but each window is edged with gold which makes the cover and spine sparkle.

Now turn inside.  One the first double spread you will see a map of Violet's neighbourhood.  Her house faces a courtyard garden which is shared by several houses and flats. "They live in a very stylish and incredibly tidy flat and there is a large garden at the back of Violet's flat that she shares with all the other children and grown-ups who live around it."

Now let's take a close look at the names of the characters in this book - they will give an astute reader an easy way to identify the 'badies' in this story :

Violet Remy-Robinson
Camille Remy - Violet's mum
Benedict Robinson - Violet's dad
Rose - Violet's best friend
Norma - their housekeeper
Dee Dee Derota - Neighbour and friend to Violet.  Dee Dee was once a Hollywood starlet.

The Count Du Plicitous - his first name is Renard and he has orangey-brown eyes
The Countess Du Plicitous - her first name is Coraline
Isabella - their daughter who is an excellent climber

Here are a few more references worth exploring.  Camille works as a jewellery designer for Smartier. The Countess, who wears a huge ruby necklace, declares she never wears fake jewels.  She gives Camille and Benedict the business card of her jeweller - Mr Frederick Orger, Master Costume Jeweller.

The Count and Countess Du Plicitous move into Violet's neighbourhood and at the same time a major crime is committed against Dee Dee Derota.  Her precious Pearl of the Orient which is "one of the most valuable pieces of jewellery in the world." is stolen.  On the night of the crime Violet sees "a small, dark figure climbing up the drainpipe at the back of the Count's house."  As you may have guessed it is Violet with the help of her friend Rose and a mysterious ally who solve this crime and save the day.

When you talk with class about this book (it would make a brilliant read-a-loud) you might look at this picture which shows the French word for fox - renard.  Then you might think about the qualities of a fox - sneaky and perhaps stalking.

Take a look at Becka Moor's web site where you can see more of the illustrations from this book.

Further good news.  I have just ordered the two sequels to Violet and the Pearl of the Orient.  You can see their covers below.

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