Violet Bing and the Grand House

Jennifer Paros, Author
Jennifer Paros, Author Viking Children's Books $14.99 (106p) ISBN 978-0-670-06151-8
Reviewed on: 04/02/2007
Release date: 04/01/2007
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Peanut Press/Palm Reader - 112 pages - 978-1-4362-6435-8
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The heroine of Paros's slim, sluggish first novel is a stubborn, ornery seven-year-old who doesn't want to do anything-including go on the family vacation. Instead, her folks drop her at the sprawling house of her great-aunt Astrid, who advises the girl to look out for ""Things of Interest."" (Violet replies, ""There is nothing of Interest."") When Astrid invites Violet ""to do things, make things, see things, or go places,"" she always insists, ""I don't have time."" Instead, she sits in a chair looking out her bedroom window, a perch from which she one day spies a girl carrying a picnic basket and looking for the stray dog she's been following. Though Violet initially has no time for this potential pal either, she does befriend the dog. She also eventually finds a ""Thing of Interest"" in a neglected room on the fourth floor of the house-her aunt's childhood bedroom-which she spruces up and makes her own. In an old carpetbag that Astrid gives her, Violet discovers her great-aunt's childhood journal, in which she complains about her life but finally vows not to be so ""angry and mean anymore."" Violet finally reaches out to the girl with the picnic basket and, as the novel closes, contemplates returning to the Grand House the following summer, ""ready to keep an eye out for Things of Interest and ready also to find out what happens next."" Unfortunately, neither Violet's contrariness nor her transformation ring true, which may leave readers less than curious about what happens next. Ages 7-up.
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