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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