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Violet Mackerel's Brilliant Plot (Violet Mackerel #1)

4.11  ·  Rating Details ·  442 Ratings  ·  86 Reviews
Introducing Violet Mackerel, a charismatic new chapter book star with a zest for life and an endearing, relatable voice akin to Ramona Quimby and Junie B. Jones.

Violet is a seven-year-old with a knack for appreciating the smallest things in life: her “Theory of Finding Small Things” states that the moment of finding a tiny treasure usually coincides with the moment of hav
Hardcover, 112 pages
Published August 28th 2012 by Atheneum Books for Young Readers (first published November 1st 2010)
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Community Reviews

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Oct 17, 2012 Stephanie rated it it was amazing
Shelves: chapter-books
This is one of those books I love so much, I want to thrust it at *everybody*, whether or not they have a chapterbook-aged child. I'm a 35-year-old, and my eyes were misty at the (absolutely perfect) ending. The whole book is so funny and sweet and clever, and I love, love, love dreamy Violet and her whole quirky, wonderful family. I cannot wait to read more books in this series!

(Longer, more detailed review on my blog.)
Oct 04, 2012 Laura rated it really liked it
Shelves: bks-grade-2-3
Wonderful early chapter book. Violet shows readers that all ideas, big and small, are important. I also like the warm family relationships and the emphasis on earning your own money for the things you want.
Apr 19, 2013 Sarah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: youngfolk
Lovely, simple and sweet. I have a bit of a crush on Vincent; I'll have to read more to make sure he sticks around.
Anne Hamilton
Nov 16, 2015 Anne Hamilton rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Violet's brilliant plot starts when she decides she wants to buy a special blue pottery bird from a table at the craft market. There's a man who never speaks when she talks to him and he has it for sale. She's got to find a way to earn $10. Her career as an archaeologist looking for treasure in the backyard comes to an abrupt end when she wrecks the garden.

Eventually she decorates a 'tubular scarf' that's been one of her mum's experiments and tries to sell it for $10. But the silent man at the s
The Styling Librarian
So, let’s celebrate a combined non-fiction and early chapter book series today, shall we? I’ve recently become a huge fan of Anna Branford. I read Violet Mackerel’s Brilliant Plot; Violet Mackerel’s Remarkable Recovery; How to Make Small Things with Violet Mackerel – by Anna Branford - Early Chapter Books – after I read another book from the Violet Mackerel series and I was simply enchanted with the beautiful philosophy and life experiences that Violet’s character has from needing to get her ton ...more
Jan 19, 2013 Julie rated it liked it
Shelves: kids
This is a cute short chapter book about wishing for things, making mistakes, and coming up with creative solutions. The illustrations are fun and plentiful, and I like the U.S. edition's cover more than Australia's. It's nice that Violet chooses an unselfish (but not very business-savvy) option near the end of the story.

A few minor quibbles: While the idea of theories and plots is a big part of the story, and this is a good introduction to those concepts, the first chapter might be a turnoff to
This is a delightful short story for junior readers. Violet Mackerel is a lovable little girl whose determination to get what she wants through her own initiative is inspirational. What she wants is a simple little china bird from the local craft stall where mum goes to sell her knitting each weekend. Alas, Violet doesn't have $10 or even $1 and unlike her irritating brother and sister she is too little to earn any.
So she dreams up various plots to get the money. Mum who only just manages to kee
Susan  Person
7-year-old Violet desperately wants a blue china bird that she sees the the weekly farmer's market she and her family attend. But she has no money - so she needs to come up with a brilliant plot to earn the $10 she needs to buy the bird. Digging in the garden for valuable fossils doesn't work - but then Violet gets the brilliant idea to use some of her mother's knitting mistakes to create a one-of-a-kind tube scarf. This sweet beginning chapter book is the first in the series. Fun for beginning ...more
Dec 08, 2012 Tanja rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Cute little story about young Violet, whose ideas are as special and different as is her family - very refreshing! I loved this book - as I loved Violet and her family - for its uniqueness and it's "out of the square/box" ideas and characters. The story celebrates in a very subtle and charming way the importance of being who you want to be and living your life the way you want to live it. The idea of having a Box of Little Things is very cool - I might just have to get one myself ;)
Dimity Powell
Feb 24, 2013 Dimity Powell rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kids-lit
Brilliantly beautiful.
Oct 27, 2011 Trisha rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: australian-yr
Loved this.
Jul 14, 2015 Esther rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 08, 2013 Lori rated it really liked it
In a nutshell: Violet is a girl with lots of big ideas, but they don't always pan out the way she plans. When she decides that what she really wants is a small, blue china bird being sold at the market where her mother sells her knitting, she concocts an "out of the box" plan to make enough money to buy it.

I was pleasantly surprised by this book! While I did have a few quibbles (as other reviewers have noted, it would have been helpful to have had a quick, kid-friendly definition of 'theory' and
Now this is more like it. A likable, creative character who does goofy kid things without really considering the consequences, but who means well, and who learns from her mistakes (unlike that other girl book character who seems on track to be a serial poisoner of her nearest and dearest when she grows up).
Violet Mackerel lives with her mother, older brother, and older sister. Her mother knits hats, scarves and other garments to sell at a weekly market. In this book Violet has her eye on a beaut
Mar 16, 2013 Cathy rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I wanted to like this book. It seemed to have all of the right elements - a spunky little girl who is neither a tomboy nor a girly-girl - and a potentially fun storyline. Unfortunately, the book was sabotaged by the writing (at least for me as an adult). It felt stiff, and unlike a book like the Nancy Clancy series that introduces and uses bigger words successfully, the bigger words sometimes felt forced and repetitive. The story was cute, but a little slow. My daughter liked the book but didn't ...more
Oct 08, 2013 Dayna rated it really liked it
So I may need to sneak off and read this entire series on my own. The adorable cover illustrations drew me in. Then the story line had me hooked. Each title page starts with a small knitting inspired illustration - sign me up! The heroine is as sweet as pie. These are just the type of stories I would want to write myself. My daughter let me read two of them to her and she read #3 on her own...but does not have quite the same level of love for these as I do.

Violet's mother knits and sells her ha
My seven year old loves to read about Junie B. Jones. I hate Junie B. Jones. I can't stand the style in which the book are written. Trying to read these books out loud is like listening to nails on a chalkboard. I can't stand Junie. She's a brat. She never really seems to learn the lesson she's suppose to. Her mother needs to use the word "no" more than she does. I have been searching and searching for a little girl to replace Junie in my daughter's life. I have found that little girl and her na ...more
Jul 29, 2015 Kate rated it liked it
Violet Mackerel has always loved a blue china bird at the local flea market. She wants to buy it, but she doesn't have any money. Prone to creating "brilliant plots," seven-year-old Violet tries several far-fetched things to earn the money to buy the bird, before stumbling into the perfect solution.

This is very cute and definitely falls into the "gentle" category. Violet is introverted and creative, making for a quiet little narrator who unwittingly gets into trouble when she follows her mind's
Jan 26, 2014 Brandi rated it really liked it
Violet Mackerel is an endearing, quirky young girl who, in this great chapter book for transitional readers, hatches an imaginative plan to acquire a tiny, blue china bird.

I love knitting-related books, so this book with a single mom of three who sells her hand knit wares at a flea market is tops with me. I love Violet creativity and industrious ingenuity to obtain the china bird. I think her older siblings efforts to earn money--making jewelry and busking--are admirable and great addition. Also
Jared White
Hmm, I just noticed there's an older edition of this with a different illustrator. I don't think I would have liked that one as much. I enjoyed the story but I picked this one up because I really like this illustrator.

I like Violet because she's creative and kind.

This is a cute story about trying to figure out how to buy a coveted bird figurine. Along the way Violet decides to become an archeologist to discover a new species of dinosaur (while digging up the back yard in the process), tries to
Sep 12, 2013 Sarah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Beautiful, sweet chapter book for my own little Violet and me to read together. I happened upon it at the library and I'm thrilled to see that it's a series! We'll be reading more for sure.
Violet, her two older siblings, and her mother go to the market every Saturday to sell her mom's knitting. There are some deeper subjects that older readers can choose to explore with their young listeners (dad left, mama's trying to make ends meet), but it's told from little Violet's perspective so everythin
Dec 26, 2014 Alice rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 3-stars
This book was recomended in a family magizine. I love Ivy and Bean and I hoped this would be the wasnt. It wasnt a bad book it just wasnt any thing that stood out making it special. It is written by an Australian and I am not sure that American kids are going to get what a plot is in this context (a plan) and when talking about wool she is talking about yarn. It does have a happy ending and I do like that. I also have a co worker who sells her jewelery at a country market during the su ...more
Jan 19, 2013 Dolores rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well-written first chapter book with an engaging main character with a quirky, loving family. Violet has a unique, but well-grounded way of looking at the world. She appreciates the little things in life. Her whole family spends Saturdays at a craft/farmer's market where each is attempting to make money for a goal. There are no spoiled children in this family. Violet has her eyes on a china bird in one of the neighboring stalls and her brilliant plot is very sweet and very selfless. Not a lot of ...more
Oct 22, 2012 Erin rated it liked it
Recommends it for: elementary school girls
Violet is a sweet little girl who wants a blue china bird and needs to think of a BRILLIANT plot to earn enough money to buy it. It takes her a few tries and a generous gift before she succeeds.

It's a very short chapter book. Easily read in a few bedtimes. Large font and frequent illustrations. I'm not sure how old Violet is supposed to be. 5 or 6? Perhaps a little older, since she writes her ideas down in notebooks. The level of the language makes me think it's aimed at older elementary student
Zanni Louise
Mar 11, 2016 Zanni Louise rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
We couldn't take many books overseas with us, but when I had to choose, I chose three Violet Mackerel books. I never get sick of reading them aloud to my three-year-old and my six-year-old. And they never get sick of hearing them. Violet is such a kind and sensitive character. The plots are all so cleverly and subtly joined together. And no matter how often I read these books, I cry! A quiet cry, so no-one notices.
Lovely, sweet first-chapter book for 1st-2nd graders. Shows that all ideas can be great and that it is completely okay to cry (not throw a fit) when you're upset. There's some sweet family life in this book, as well as some lovely market scenes - I LOVE markets and I think they don't show up nearly often enough in modern kids books!

Though the plot meanders, it is never confusing and it never really gets off track. It just works the way kids' minds work.

Really, fantastic.
This is a sweet book that will appeal to young readers who have graduated up from early readers like Amelia Bedelia, but aren't quite ready for Clementine. The plot is simple. Violet wants a small china bird at the market where her mother sells her knitting. She thinks up a few different money-making schemes to help her achieve her goal. Of note: Violet lives with her mother and two older siblings. Her dad 'left'.
Jun 12, 2011 Maureen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I had to have a friend send this to me from AU b/c sadly, it's not avail for the US - yet! Can't wait till Violet gets here! This little book of Violets is like a breath of fresh air that I know kids in the states would enjoy immensely. Can't wait to get my hands on the 2nd installment! Also read Sophies Salon -a book on the importance of friendships - making them and maintaining them all while being true to yourself.
Feb 25, 2013 Tracie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: j, realistic, early-reader
A loving and lovely story about a spunky young girl who wants to buy a beautiful clay bird at the local market where her mother sells knitted goods. Violet has to come up with some way to make $10 to buy the bird, but she discovers that sometimes things don't matter as much as people.
Recommended for those who like The Cobblestone Cousins, a gentler Clementine or younger readers not-quite-ready to read What Happened on Fox Street by themselves.
Stacy Tomaszewski
I really love this sweet series! Violet Mackerel is a thoughtful, intelligent little girl who resides with her mother and two siblings in what may be Australia, but could be any small town. She lives according to her various "theories"--brilliant and insightful ideas of the type only a young, unjaded mind can dream up.
The reading level is fairly low, so young readers will be able to read these on their own, but I think parents will enjoy reading them aloud.
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