Jessica Juniper (Kingdom of the Frosty Mountains) by Emerald Everhart
|Jessica Juniper (Kingdom of the Frosty Mountains) by Emerald Everhart|
|Category: Confident Readers|
|Reviewer: Claire Morris|
|Summary: A pretty, glittery book that your daughter will beg you to buy. Save your money and borrow it, she'll only want to read it once.|
|Buy? No||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 144||Date: May 2008|
|Publisher: Egmont Books Ltd|
Emerald Everhart's Kingdom of the Frosty Mountains series looks promising from the outside, and with glitter, flowers and pink pages is going to catch every girl's eye. Unfortunately, Jessica Juniper, the first book in the series, just doesn't live up to its expectations. The premise behind the book, a magical kingdom filled with ballerinas secreted inside a perfume bottle, is a wonderful idea, and gives Jessica Juniper the edge it needs to make you turn to the first page. If only the world inside the bottle were half as interesting.
Within the first few pages I can't help but feel that I've read this book before. The idea of a young girl heading off to school on her own, only to find that a series of unfortunate events gives her a bad reputation has been done so many times before. Enid Blyton used it for her Naughtiest Girl series, and Jessica Juniper was so similar to The Worst Witch that I kept expecting the ballerinas to pull out wands and cast a spell at any moment.
Girls will delight at Everhart's inclusion of talking animals, and no doubt will be transported into fantasies of having their very own talking furry companion. Jessica Juniper's particular friend is a talking donkey called Sinbad, who, with his wise-cracking, trouble-making ways, bears a remarkable resemblance to a certain talking donkey companion out of the recent Shrek films. I struggled to see the point of his, or any of the other animals; in fact it seemed that Everhart had simply substituted developing her main cast by doubling her supporting one and hoped that no-one would notice.
Everhart seems to do this on a regular basis, putting particular emphasis on the small, unnecessary details, even going so far as to include a 17 page glossary at the end of the book to go into further detail, and then skating over the big things like plot. It's a nice touch, but I think that a girl would have much rather had those 17 pages put towards making the story a bit longer, more exciting and less predictable. Everhart needs to give her audience some more credit.
I might have given Jessica Juniper a better chance if it hadn't been for the serious lapse in the amount of attention paid within the very first chapter. As I said before, Everhart likes to describe all the little details, and includes a paragraph describing the style of a city dweller's coach. In the City fashion, the carriage had no wheels, but was held up at each end by two burly carriage-bearers. Imagine my horror then, to turn the page and see a beautifully detailed illustration of the coach in question, complete with four big wheels! I said that Everhart needed to give her readers more credit, and there is no better example than this as to why. The confusion it caused could so easily have been avoided if only someone had picked up on it before the book went to print, and if it was picked up on and subsequently ignored then I can't imagine how this insult to a girl's imagination can possibly have been justified.
I get no warmth from Jessica Juniper in the slightest, instead a cold feeling that these books were thought up around a boardroom table in a marketing meeting, and that by adding the sparkles and glitter could attract enough children with indulgent parents to buy it for them. Yes, girls will enjoy this more than I have, but it's not a classic and it's not going to be a re-read favourite, borrow this from the library for a light bedtime read but don't expect anything more from it.
If you do enjoy this then you might also like to try The Worst Witch to the Rescue by Jill Murphy, and Clover Twig and the Incredible Flying Cottage by Kaye Umansky.
You can read more book reviews or buy Jessica Juniper (Kingdom of the Frosty Mountains) by Emerald Everhart at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy Jessica Juniper (Kingdom of the Frosty Mountains) by Emerald Everhart at Amazon.com.
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