Shrieking Violet, by Emma Quay

Hello! This is my book
and it’s all about me!

A young girl wants to share her day with her mum and the reader, but is finding it difficult. Her little sister keeps distracting attention from her. Whether it’s falling over and crying loudly, or having to be diverted from mischief, Violet, with her very loud little voice, is everywhere. The girl perseveres, doing her best to ignore Violet and her interruptions, but this toddler is difficult to ignore. Eventually she’s had enough and has a shrieking fit of her own. While Mum comforts the main character, Violet tries to make amends. ‘Shrieking Violet’ ends with the two playing together, although the main character is still centre stage. Illustrations are bright and loose, almost messy in brush and ink, acrylic paint and collage. Backgrounds are spots, the size varying on different pages. And the page where the main character finally loses her cool? The yellow spots are large and almost vibrating with indignation.

It can be tough to lose your place in the family. Babies and toddlers draw the attention of family because their needs are immediate and constant. Sharing Mum can be tough. But this young girl makes a good job of entertaining Mum, refusing to be diverted. Violet is just doing what toddlers do…experimenting, copying, wanting to be part of the action. And that’s what the main character discovers. If she lets her little sister be involved, there’s more chance of Mum staying engaged too. This is a delightful picture book that captures family dynamics and personalities with simple images and few words. The reader will see that this situation is going to change and anticipate her eventual boil over. The resolution is satisfying and realistic. Recommended for preschoolers and early school age children.

Shrieking Violet

Shrieking Violet, Emma Quay
Scholastic Press 2010
ISBN: 9781741695687

review by Claire Saxby, Children’s Author

This book can be purchased in any good bookstore, or online from Fishpond.