Miraculous Miranda by Siobhan Parkinson

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Miraculous Miranda by Siobhan Parkinson

Category: Confident Readers
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Jill Murphy
Reviewed by Jill Murphy
Summary: Lovely middle grade story about secrets and illness in a family and how a little imagination can go a long way towards surmounting such problems. Funny, trenchant and moving.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 160 Date: September 2016
Publisher: Hodder
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 1444929070

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Miranda is a small girl with a big - no, a huge - imagination. She writes stories, tells jokes using wordplay and her favourite part of school is the Word of the Day competition, which she almost always wins. Unless best friend Caroline O'Rourke aka COR or annoying boy-in-the-class Darren Hoey pinches one of Miranda's words and pips her at the post that way, that is. Miranda is also quite soppy and emotional, unlike COR, who is sporty and blunt.

At home, there is Mum and Dad, who like a good discussion. And Gran, who generally talks incomprehensible nonsense and has named her cat after a Latin hymn. And older sister Gemma, who has a "condition". Nobody talks much about Gemma's illness but it does involve her being carted off to hospital in Dublin at regular intervals and often in the middle of the night. And when Gemma is taken into hospital again, there are signs that it's even more serious than usual. Gran starts openly smoking. Mum sounds even more brittle on the telephone than she usually does. Dad doesn't come back to see Miranda.

So Miranda does what she always does - retreat into her imagination. She invents a fantasy land called Magnanimous. With a special crystal clear glass hospital furnished with ice knives for pain-free surgery, Magnanimous is the kind of place where miracles can happen, even to very sick older sisters. But will a miracle happen for Gemma in real life?

Awww. Miraculous Miranda is a lovely middle grade story. It's frank and open and funny and also a little bit sad. Miranda isn't just imaginative; she's perceptive too. And she know that her parents aren't telling her the whole truth about Gemma and neither is Gran. It's frustrating. And at one point, she even loses it to the level of having a tantrum. You can't blame her. An important underlying message in this story is that children, however young, deserve the truth. There's also a lot of slapstick humour as characters get the wrong ends of some of Miranda's sticks to hilarious effect.

But mostly, this story is about the power of imagination. Miranda deals with her fears and anxieties by making up stories, conversing with her teddy bear (because if you have a big imagination, your teddies can always talk) and defining all the best words for Word of the Day. And Miranda's imagination makes connections between the wishes she expresses in her stories and things that happen in the world around her - Gran stops smoking, Darren Hooey gives her a chocolate bar. These real-life mini-miracles perform their own miracle on Miranda - they give her hope. And hope is a powerful thing.

I defy any reader not to love this positive story and narrator Miranda's trenchant, witty, and vulnerable voice along with it. We love Siobhan Parkinson in these 'ere parts and in Miraculous Miranda, she's given us another little jewel of a middle grade novel.

If Miraculous Miranda appeals, you might also enjoy Too Small to Fail by Morris Gleitzman or Hate That Cat by Sharon Creech.

Buy Miraculous Miranda by Siobhan Parkinson at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Miraculous Miranda by Siobhan Parkinson at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy Miraculous Miranda by Siobhan Parkinson at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Miraculous Miranda by Siobhan Parkinson at Amazon.com.


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