I just grabbed this book, the sequel to Violet Mackerel, with both hands as soon as it arrived in our school library. I was not disappointed. In fact I will say this one is even better than the first. Anna Branford has that lovely knack of introducing a whole set of seemingly unrelated story threads which she then skillfully draws together in a really satisfying way.
Violet has tonsillitis and will need an operation but the good news, explained by the doctor, is that her voice might change. Violet imagines this means she will now have the voice of an opera singer. In the hospital waiting room Violet meets an old lady. She “has a green cardigan and a necklace of bright red beads and she is doing a funny thing with her hands. Her fingers, which have lots of rings on them, are all laced together and she is making her thumbs go round and round.”
Violet lives by the theory of giving small things. The doctor gives Violet a small purple lozenge which she in turn gives to the old lady to help with her anxiety as she prepares to have an operation on her arm. The two new friends make a promise to share afternoon tea following their remarkable recoveries but Violet forgets to tell Iris where she lives.
As we read in the first book, Violet must now think outside the square in order to find Iris and keep her promise. How did Violet get her name? What sort of plants does Iris love to grow? How can a radio gardening program bring the two new friends back together?
The most joyous part is right at the end when we hear Violet sing on radio :
“Red beads and cardigans
Made of green knitting
Round and round thumbs
While you’re quietly sitting.
Robins, eggs, flowers
And fingers with rings
These are a few of Iris MacDonald’s
Can you guess the tune? After reading Violet Mackerel you must get your hands on this sequel it is a delight!