Brooke Johnson's Reviews > Alice-Miranda at School

Alice-Miranda at School by Jacqueline Harvey
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's review
Oct 31, 2011

really liked it

Alice-Miranda at School is a cute story about a spunky girl who’s seven-and-a-quarter, not quite old enough to attend Winchesterfield-Downsfordvale Academy for Proper Young Ladies. This, and her brazen, curious personality, changes the school forever. Finding the state of the school entirely unacceptable, she faces off with the headmistress, Miss Grimm, who hasn’t been seen on campus for ten years, she befriends the second best tantrum thrower of the school, and touches the heart of every staff member other than the headmistress in her first week at school.

I really enjoyed reading about Alice-Miranda’s adventures, but I did have a few issues. The book is intended for younger readers, ages nine to twelve, but it reads much younger, like a beginning chapter book might. The book is ninety-percent dialogue, and everything happens rather quickly (for a younger reader, however, the pacing is perfect). Another problem I had was with Alice-Miranda. I loved her spunky attitude, but she was entirely too perfect. She has a loving family, lots of money, she can befriend pretty much anyone with a smile, she’s extremely smart, and she’s fearless. She doesn’t have a single flaw. While her curiosity gets her into trouble with the headmistress, I didn’t for a second think that she might fail the challenges ahead.

Alice-Miranda aside, the other characters, children and adults alike, all felt like real people I might meet, even with their somewhat silly names. Jacinta Headlington-Bear is the second best tantrum thrower and a phenomenal gymnast. Millicent Jane McLoughlin-McTavish-McNoughton-McGill, known as Millie, is Alice-Miranda’s roommate and supportive best friend (I liked her the most, I think). And then there’s Alice-Miranda’s enemy, Alethea Goldsworthy, the living definition of spoiled brat. While they had their conflicts, Alice-Miranda never lost her cool, and she always took the high road in their confrontations.

All in all, I enjoyed reading the book. It made me giggle all the way through. It’s something I would recommend for younger readers, as young as six and seven. None of the vocabulary is too difficult, and there are several interesting facts sprinkled into the book’s pages. If I ever have a little bookworm girl, this will be one of the first chapter books I’ll have her read.
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