“ Author: Lou Kuenzler / Format: Paperback / Date of publication: 07 January 2013 / Genre: Adventure Stories / Subcategory: Children's Fiction / Publisher: Scholastic / Title: Shrinking Violet Definitely Needs a Dog / ISBN 13: 9781407130057 / ISBN 10: 1407130057 „
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Ten year old Violet Potts wants a dog. Her favourite uncle, Max, adopted a Siberian wolf cub for her, but that wasn't the same as having a real pet dog to cuddle and care for. Her parents think she is too irresponsible to handle a pet, but Violet is determined to prove them wrong by volunteering at the local pet shelter. The only complication is that Violet has a secret; she shrinks to the size of a dog biscuit whenever she gets excited. Will she be able to keep a lid on her emotions and prove to her parents that she can handle a dog of her own?
Shrinking Violet Definitely Needs a Dog is an entertaining, fast paced story which is ideal for girls aged 7 and over. The narrative is enhanced with bold cartoon illustrations which further add to the appeal of the book. The story is told from a first person perspective by Violet herself and is punctuated by an imaginative use of different fonts to highlight key expressions in the text, which makes key words stand out on the page. For example, in one chapter, the word 'hungry' is embellished with sharp cartoon teeth and when Violet talks about spinning herself round in a back flip, the text curves around itself in a spiral pattern.
I found the story enjoyable enough, especially the scenes when Violet shrinks at the worst possible moment. Because she shrinks whenever she gets excited, she tries to stifle her feelings by doing something boring, such as reciting spellings and multiplications, or eating something unpleasant like raw onion. Of course, as no one knows her secret, her strange actions baffle those around her, especially her parents and teenage sister.
From the perspective of an adult reading a book aimed at children, I must admit that after a few chapters, I did find the constantly changing fonts slightly annoying, and also found it irksome when Violet and her best friend littered the dialogue with the words 'totally' and 'awesome'. However, I am convinced that the target audience of tween girls will be a lot more forgiving than I was.
Shrinking Violet Definitely Needs a Dog is part of a series of books by Lou Kuenzler, which will no doubt find our tiny heroine facing plenty of fresh challenges.
I previously published this review on the website www.thebookbag.co.uk. Thank you to the publishers for my review copy.