cover image The Trouble with Violet

The Trouble with Violet

Anne Mazer. Scholastic Paperbacks, $4.99 (95pp) ISBN 978-0-439-87246-1

Launching Mazer's (The Amazing Days of Abby Hayes novels) Sister Magic series, this snappy tale introduces two likable siblings who couldn't be more different. Neat and organized, no-nonsense Mabel has little patience for her free-spirited younger sister, Violet, whose hair is chronically tangled and face smeared with jam. When a lavish book of fairy tales with pictures ""you could practically walk into"" arrives from their Uncle Vartan, Mabel agrees to read it to Violet on the condition that Violet not touch the book with her ""grubby fingers."" Mabel shushes her sister when Violet insists that an ""S"" in the book hissed at her and a magician pictured spoke to her, but she can't ignore the peculiar happenings that follow. When Mabel derides Violet for not knowing how to tie her own shoes, her own laces suddenly refuse to stay tied. A surprise visit from Uncle Vartan confirms that there is indeed a magical gene in the girls' family-one that appears to have been passed down to Violet. Though it leaves some questions unanswered, this lighthearted caper sets the scene for Violet's magical exploits in Violet Makes a Splash, due out the same month. Short sentences, accessible vocabulary and a peppy pace nicely tailor the series to reluctant readers. Ages 7-10.