It’s my stop on the book tour for Violet’s Tempest by Ian Eagleton and Clara Anganuzzi. This beautifully illustrated picture book shines the spotlight on shyness and finding your voice.
When Violet is chosen to play Ariel from The Tempest in the school play, she is overcome with worry. But it isn’t about remembering her words that’s troubling her, it’s having to say them out loud.
Violet’s Tempest pulls at the heartstrings from the opening spread where we find out that Violet’s voice has recently gone from a giggle to a whisper. The book doesn’t go into the detail of the underlying cause of what is troubling Violet (I’d love a follow up book to find out!). Instead, the focus of the book moves swiftly onto the school play and Violet’s shyness.
Using delicately interwoven elements of Shakespeare’s play The Tempest, Ian and Clara help us see the world through Violet’s eyes. Clara’s warm and whimsical illustrations bring both Ariel from The Tempest and Violet’s journey of self-discovery to life.
My daughter is very shy and so I was delighted to share this book with her. As part of the tour, my daughter got to ask Ian and Clara a question:
To Ian: why did Violet’s voice go from a giggle to a whisper? [on the opening spread]
Ian: To be honest, I still don’t know! I did think first of all that she had had a falling out with some of her friends at school or that maybe Violet was being bullied. I also thought that maybe something might have happened to her parents, but I really don’t know why Violet is so sad and quiet at the beginning of the story. Sometimes we just struggle and have hard times and we need our families and friends to help us find our voice.
To Clara: what was your favourite bit to draw?
Clara: My favourite spread in the book is the one where Nan and Violet are on the chair together with all their homey Knick knacks surrounding them. My home growing up was always full of family memories in the form of photos and knick-knacks, so I wanted to share that feeling of homey comfort in this image. I feel like the image has a warm feeling to it and it really shows the support Nan gives to Violet, not only in that moment but throughout their time together (which can be seen throughout the photos in the background and little trinkets).
Thank you so both Ian and Clara!
Another key message that shines through in the book, is the value of a loving, supportive family. Violet’s relationship with her Nan is so touching. I also loved the inclusion of incidental representation in the book, both Violet being a child of colour and also her two uncles. Neither theme was integral to the story, but both added a richness to the book. Shyness is a universal issue and Violet’s Tempest is a universal picture book.
Published by Lantana Publishing, 9 September 2021
VIOLET’S TEMPEST is now available in all good bookshops! OR, buy your copy from Lantana’s online shop and donate a book to children who need books the most with your purchase.
Remember to go back and check out the other stops of the book tour!
I am very grateful to the publisher for providing me with a complimentary copy of this book. This voluntary review contains my honest opinion.