‘Oh wow, look at that!’ Jacinta exclaimed as she pointed at an impressive building in the distance. The limestone mansion glistened in the summer sunshine.
‘It’s the hotel de ville,’ Millie replied. She had been consulting her guidebook as the group marched along the northern side of the river Seine. ‘But it’s not a hotel. It’s the mayor’s office. Pretty fancy, hey?’
‘I’ll say. Paris is so beautiful,’ said Jacinta, as the children passed yet another magnificent row of townhouses. ‘It’s no wonder they call it the City of Love.’
Alice-Miranda, some of her classmates and some from their brother-school are part of a choir. They are in Paris at short notice to sing at special events mostly to do with Fashion Week. But of course, wherever Alice-Miranda is, there is intrigue. And Paris is no exception. As their teachers strive to ensure the group is entertained, fed, rehearsed and on time for all their engagements, mysteries seem to multiply. If trying to manage a group of inquisitive children is challenging in any classroom, the challenges are multiplied when that group is in a foreign city, and that group contains Alice-Miranda and her friends.
Alice-Miranda is an expensively-dressed Pollyanna mixed with Sherlock Holmes! She sees the best in everyone, despite being exposed to all manner of behaviours by people with few excuses. Wealth offers no immunity from behaving well. She sees rudeness as the behaviour of unhappy people and she likes people to be happy. She sails through situations that would daunt far taller people. She is forthright and helpful, inquisitive and resourceful, the perfect young heroine. And who wouldn’t like the opportunity to visit Paris, to sing at shows and to visit magical places? There are dramas and red herrings, outbursts and surprising clues. Alice-Miranda invites all to participate in the mystery of life and to look beyond the obvious to find what people really want and need. Recommended for confident readers in middle-primary.
Alice-Miranda in Paris by Jacqueline Harvey Random House 2013 ISBN: 9781742752884
review by Claire Saxby, Children’s Author