Whether to keep track of homework and important dates, or as a confidant, a diary can be a treasured possession. The Alice-Miranda Diary is a lovely offering that could be used for either purpose and will especially appeal to fans of the Alice-Miranda series.
The diary has a beautiful candy pink hard cover, with a ribbon place holder to help the diarist keep her place, as well as lots of extras, including pages for photos, addresses and birthdays, and Alice-Miranda inspired quizzes, games and even recipes.
For readers who love Alice-Miranda there is much here to please, including quotes from the books, and for those who have not read the series, the diary may prove an inspiration to do so.
A lovely gift idea.
Alice-Miranda Diary 2014
Random House, 2013
Available from good bookstores or <a href=”http://www.fishpond.com.au/product_info.php?ref=271&id=9780857980526&affiliate_banner_id=1″ target=”_blank”>online.</a>
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.
‘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
Alice-Miranda Highton-Smith-Kennington-Jones said goodbye to her friends on the steps of Winchesterfield Manor.
‘Please try to be brave, Mrs Smith.’ She wrapped her arms around the cook’s waist.
‘Dear girl.’ Mrs Smith sniffled into her tissue, then fished around in her apron pocket to retrieve a small parcel wrapped in greaseproof paper. ‘Some brownies for the drive.’
‘Oh Mrs Smith, my favourites! You really are the best brownie cook in the whole world. I’ll share them with Mummy and Jacinta. You know, I was thinking you should make them for Kennington’s. I’m sure we’d sell kazillions. Imagine: Mrs Smith’s Scrumptious Melt-in-Your-Mouth Chocolate Brownies”.’ Alice-Miranda underlined the invisible words in the air. ‘Wouldn’t that be amazing – you’d be famous!’
In the first Alice-Miranda story, this tiny girl managed to change her school by the power of her optimism and good will. Alice-Miranda on Holiday begins with Alice-Miranda leaving school after her first term there. The staff are sorry to see her go, even though it’s only for a short while. She and Jacinta are very excited to be going to Highton Hall, Alice-Miranda’s home. But despite their welcome there, Alice-Miranda can see that there are strange things happening. There’s the mysterious bad-tempered boy who throws things at them, an unexplained black car, and a movie star guest. When Jacinta is struck down with the flu, it’s up to Alice-Miranda to work out just what’s going on.
Alice-Miranda is Pollyanna as she would be if she’d been born into a very wealthy family. She sees the good in everyone and if there’s a misunderstanding, her direct approach seems to work a treat in sorting it out. She is adored by all, and even those who don’t initially warm to her are soon brought around. Her family are very loving and supportive. This care is extended to her friend Jacinta, whose own parents are equally wealthy but always busy, always elsewhere. Together and separately, they solve one mystery after another in what is a very busy holiday time. Themes are around family and understanding others. Young readers will love the idea of her home and room, her naughty pony and her friends, young and less young. And as for some of the meals… Recommended for independent readers. Younger children will enjoy being read to.
Alice-Miranda on Holiday, Jacqueline Harvey
Random House 2010
Reviewed by Claire Saxby Children’s book author.
Alice-Miranda Highton-Smith-Kennington-Jones waved goodbye to her parents at the gate.
‘Goodbye, Mummy. Please try to be brave.’ Her mother sobbed loudly in reply. ‘Enjoy your golf, Daddy. I’ll see you at the end of term.’ Her father sniffled into his handkerchief.
Before they had time to wave her goodbye, Alice-Miranda skipped back down the hedge-lined path into her new home.
Winchesterfield-Downsfordvale Academy for Proper Young Ladies had a tradition dating back two and a half centuries. Alice-Miranda’s mother, aunt, grandmother, great-grandmother and so on had all gone there. But none had been so young or so willing.
Alice-Miranda is not quite eight years-old but she’s ready for boarding school. She feels she’s outgrown her prep school and it’s time to extend the family tradition and attend the same school as her forebears. The Academy is not quite as she imagined, but armed with relentless optimism she begins to settle in. The headmistress, Miss Grimm, runs a tight ship, but is never seen. The school seems to be lacking something. If only Alice-Miranda could work out just what it is. All the other staff seem to be bad, sad, cross or a mixture of all.
Alice-Miranda at School is over-the-top adventure and fun for young readers. Alice-Miranda’s optimism is like a deceptively powerful breeze that sweeps away all challenges. She is never oppositional, always helpful and slowly (and not-so-slowly) she transforms the lives and surrounds of Winchesterfield-Downsfordvale Academy and its occupants. She has looked forward to starting at the school and her activities make it the school she was looking forward to, the school it once was. Readers will skip along with Alice-Miranda’s adventures, smiling and giggling as they go. Recommended for mid-primary readers.
Alice-Miranda at School, Jacqueline Harvey
Random House 2010
review by Claire Saxby, Children’s Author
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