Victoria Stitch Bad and Glittering

Victoria Stitch Bad and Glittering
Harriet Muncaster
Oxford University Press

As the story starts, living alone in a small tree trunk, twin fairy-like beings ‘wisklings’, Celestine and Victoria should be princesses.

But the single royal diamond from which they were born is impure so their birthright is denied them.

The mild Celestine is accepting, but with her frenzied energy, Victoria Stitch as she likes to be called, is obsessed with becoming the next queen and very angry about the decision Lord Astrophel has made.

Between the twins there exists a fondness, but it’s maintained by a fragile thread that’s all too easily snapped. ”She took all the kindness and I got all the rage,” is how Victoria Stitch puts it.

Then Victoria encounters secret-loving Ursuline who needs a friend and offers to help in her unthwartable mission to become queen after Cassiopeia.

But will this new alliance prove to be a force for good or not? And what will happen after the twin’s graduation …

Any reader who fell for Isadora Moon and is ready for something a bit longer and rather darker, will surely love Harriet’s new gothic fantasy. The illustrations are simply divine especially as Victoria Stitch with her funky, pointy toed, heeled boots is a fashionista who loves to strut her stuff in melodramatic wiskling style as befits the superbly woven, absorbing narrative.

To enter Wiskling Wood is utter enchantment every step of the way; it’s hard to leave for whatever reason …

Fearless Mirabelle

Fearless Mirabelle
Katie Haworth and Nila Aye
Templar Publishing

Daughters of famous circus acrobats, Meg and Mirabelle are identical twins; but though they look alike, they are completely different. Much to her parents’ delight, Mirabelle shows signs of following in their footsteps right from the start as she balances, climbs and jumps.

Meg in contrast merely makes an enormous amount of noise. And so it continues as the girls grew older, although their propensities for dare devil moves and incessant talking are now in full flower.

One day the parent Moffats decide to take their twins to work. Once in the circus tent three family members perform amazing acrobatic feats.

Then comes Meg’s turn and with it, as she slowly ascends the ladder and stands on the platform all a-tremble, comes the Moffats’ realisation that this daughter suffers from acrophobia. (Me too).

Once she’s safely back on the ground, her parents offer sympathy and alternative possibilities but nothing really fits the bill so far as Meg is concerned.

Off she goes to sit alone in the caravan; refusing even to come out and see Mirabelle’s debut performance.

The act commences and is an enormous success but then Mirabelle is faced with the inevitable cameras and mikes being thrust at her. That’s the price of success; but the poor child is no longer fearless, she’s positively petrified.
Sisterly love prevails though as Meg steps forward to offer a helping hand and an enormous voice.
Could she finally have discovered her calling?

What a terrific celebration of difference, finding your own purpose in life, and sisterly love Katie Haworth’s story is. You certainly don’t have to be a twin to appreciate its messages, nor to revel in Nila Ali’s spirited scenes of the circus sisters and their parents.
A book that will surely have encore performances demanded after every reading.