Alice-Miranda at school by Jacqueline Harvey

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10th Anniversary Edition. Penguin Random House, 2020. ISBN: 9781760896034. hbk.
(Ages: 6-10). Recommended. Alice-Miranda Highton-Smith-Kennington-Jones has decided to go to boarding school and phoned to ask if she can start early at 7 and a quarter, much to the concern of her extremely wealthy parents. She strides into Winchesterfield-Downsfordvale Academy for Proper Young Ladies with all the confidence of an adult, knowing that her mother and grandmother had attended the same school before her. She sets about solving all the problems she encounters with the staff and students including taking on the fearsome Head Mistress, Miss Grimm, who has not been seen for many years by anyone but her secretary.
The character of Alice-Miranda was created by the author to illustrate that kindness and courage are the most important things to strive for and Alice-Miranda certainly has both of those attributes along with skills and an attitude you would normally expect in a much older person. To all the adults in the story she is quite confronting, but she certainly appeals to her young readers as this series has been extremely popular. This reprint of the first book in the long series that launched Alice-Miranda is the tenth Anniversary edition and includes a letter from the author outlining her gratitude to all who helped bring the character to life with her.
I liked this book, but I had some issues with Alice-Miranda being so perfect and so right all the time. Her parents allow her to solve most of the problems she encounters by paying enormous amounts of money for anything she asks for - such as a holiday for the school cook to America by private helicopter and landscaping services for the gardener to replace the flowers in the grounds. Perhaps this is part of the charm of the story, but it does not reflect real life for most of the general population.
It is not a difficult book to read and is written using lots of dialogue, making the story move quickly. It would be a great novel for younger readers who are reading at a higher level. Themes: Boarding school, Family relationships, Friendship.
Gabrielle Anderson