Ian Eagleton and Clara Anganuzzi
There’s a change in Violet’s world: what was once her giggly voice is now a whisper. Consequently when Mr Newland, her teacher, casts her as the mischievous Ariel in the school play, she’s beset by nerves and worries – suppose people laugh at her?
Back home, Violet’s loving, empathetic Nan offers her support and encouragement,
so too do her uncle Tony and his partner Uncle Sebastian.
Meanwhile the rehearsals continue apace at school where her teacher too is supportive and suggests Violet tries to imagine how Ariel would feel trapped and unable to escape.
The weeks pass and the day of the performance of The Tempest draws ever closer, with Nan continuing to inspire and embolden Violet as she practises her lines. Then comes the dress rehearsal: “Violet … think about how Ariel will feel once they’re free” Mr Newland tells her. The girl breathes deeply reminding herself of her Nan, and beginning with a whisper, starts playing her part.
When the big night arrives, Violet is beset by the inevitable racing heart and turbulent tummy but nonetheless as she steps out onto the stage, something amazing, indeed magical happens: Violet feels at peace with herself as Ariel
gliding and swooping across the stage and suddenly her voice changes from a soft whisper to a wonderful roar, much to the delight of her family and doubtless everyone else.
This is a wonderfully warm story of facing up to and over-coming your fears, as well as the power of a supportive family. Clara Anganuzzi’s sensitive illustrations capture effectively the characters’ feelings, making this book one to share and discuss with children either in the classroom or at home. (Despite how he looks in the story, I can’t help but think the author and teacher Ian Eagleton would be just as empathetic as Violet’s class teacher in a similar situation).