Monday, July 2, 2018


After having enjoyed Clementine Rose, Miss 10 turned to Alice-Miranda, also by Jacqueline Harvey. She has been completely absorbed in them for a while now. I hadn’t managed to read them until recently (just the first 2) and I’m so glad I did. They are utterly charming.

Alice-Miranda Highton-Smith-Kennington-Jones has decided at age 7 and a quarter that it’s time for her to start boarding school at Winchesterfield-Downsfordvale Academy for Proper Young Ladies. Her parents have reluctantly and weepingly agreed, acknowledging that Alice-Miranda often does know best. Alice-Miranda is delighted to be there, and quickly charms the staff and students, being unfailingly polite and disarmingly friendly. Within 24 hours she has sent the cook off on a well-earned holiday, convinced the gardener to plant flowers all over the grounds, and befriended the second-best tantrum thrower at the school. However, one person is not at all charmed: headmistress Miss Grimm, who has for 10 years managed to avoid any contact with students. She is determined to get rid of Alice-Miranda before she changes anything else.

There are echoes of Roald Dahl’s Matilda, but Alice-Miranda comes from an extremely wealthy family and has travelled all over the world meeting many famous people. Rather than being stuck-up, her parents have raised to both take care of herself and to care for others. She speaks her mind plainly but politely, and so will give many a young girl some hints as to how to deal with bullies and challenging situations.

There are so many books (and TV shows) where characters have traits that you would prefer your own children didn’t emulate. It’s a nice treat to have a heroine who is charming, friendly, polite and clever, all without any guile. I imagine it would be a challenge to write such a character without her becoming tiring, boring and trite, but Jacqueline Harvey has managed that balance point well.

I’m glad I dipped into them and am very happy for my Miss 10 to keep reading them. With 16 already written (each around the 300-page mark) and more underway, it’s a series that is very likely to appeal to (mainly) girls aged 7-10. They would also be quite fun to read aloud to less confident readers, or indeed to anyone who was willing to listen!

It seems Harvey has a new series starting this year too, Kensy and Max, we’ll be looking out for that one too.

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