Violet’s Tempest by Ian Eagleton, illustrated by Clara Anganuzzi. Lantana, 2021. 9781911373520
Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 4
Format: Hardcover picture book
What did you like about the book? Violet is a super quiet girl. She has been assigned the role of Ariel in the class play, The Tempest, and she’s worried she’s not going to be able to speak the lines. Her Nan comforts her and helps her learn her lines, Uncle Tony encourages her to dance and Uncle Sebastian just tells her he knows she will do well. After some advice from Nan (“…it’s fine to be worried as long as you don’t let opportunities pass you by…”), Violet practices and practices and finds that on the day and in the moment, she can turn her whisper to a roar. After the show, Violet walks home with her family feeling the pride in her performance and the love of those around her.
Anything you didn’t like about it? I was so happy to see that there was another book out there about a kid who is voiceless. It’s an interesting challenge that sometimes needs to be worked but other times just needs to be left alone. As always, I struggle with why it is that we insist that kids talk if they don’t want to or have to. Sharing ideas, sharing our learning, and what we are thinking is important but there are many, many ways to do that. Why do we insist that a girl who doesn’t want to talk become a lead in a play?
To whom would you recommend this book? Those that are thinking about shyness will enjoy this traditional way of dealing with the issue.
Who should buy this book? Anyone who has SEL picture books on their shelves
Where would you shelve it? Picture books
Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? Yes, so that we all can have a conversation (like how I did that?) about kids’ silence and whether it’s “good” or “bad”.
Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City and State: Pam WattsFlavin, Head of Children’s Services, Robbins Library, Arlington, MA
Date of review: November 21, 2021