Why kids (and parents) love it: Alice-Miranda Highton-Smith-Kennington-Jones and her friends are off on another overseas trip! Winchesterfield-Downsfordvale Academy has organised a school exchange with Bright Star Academy in Beijing, and the students are very excited. All the girls are going – Alice-Miranda, Millie, Jacinta, even Caprice. Some of the boys from Fayle are on-board too, so it’s shaping up to be a real adventure.
After a slightly eventful plane ride over (including Figgy treating himself to a milkshake in business class), they land in Hong Kong and all seems well. The group start off with some delectable food, and a breathtaking acrobatic show featuring a young gymnast named Summer Tan. The show blows them all away, especially Jacinta, and the girls even get backstage to meet their new idol! And okay, so not everyone has been on their best behaviour (ahem, Mrs Sykes), but overall the gang are having a great time and learning loads. But when Alice-Miranda keeps spotting a very scared-looking Summer in places she shouldn’t be, something seems a little off with the Circus of Golden Destiny. Throw in an escaped goldfish, a bout of vertigo and a missing antiquity, and Alice-Miranda realises she may have to pull off her own kind of daring feat…
Fans of Alice-Miranda will not be disappointed with the latest instalment. It’s fast paced and action-packed, but also develops the characters, so if you’ve been reading the books since #1, you’ll especially enjoy seeing more of the parents and watching Caprice get a taste of her own medicine when she’s billeted with the insufferable Felicity. If you’ve been waiting on tenterhooks to see what’s been going on with Jacinta and Lucas, never fear – you’ll find out more about that too.
Parents and teachers will also be happy with this one. Kids will learn quite a lot about China and Chinese culture through the eyes of the visiting girls. They haggle at the markets in Kowloon, visit the Shanghai Museum, go to the Great Wall, and try a range of delicious delicacies. We also get to know Coco Wong and her family, who Alice-Miranda and Jacinta stay with, and have a very important role to play as the story unfolds.
Alice-Miranda is a wonderful character for young readers to look up to. She’s kind, loyal, friendly, eager to learn, and always there to support her friends. Author Jacqueline Harvey says the character has become “the best bits of so many children I’ve taught over the years. She is a wise soul – beyond her years but still naïve at times, which is a lovely thing.” You can read more from our interview with Jacqueline here.
We’ll be seeing more of Alice-Miranda too, with Jacqueline already hard at work on #15, Alice-Miranda Holds the Key. We can’t wait to see what the gang get up to next, but at the end of the day, no matter what antics and hijinks have ensued, the core of the series is about a little girl with a big heart – and rather a lot of last names.
Want to learn more about the delightful adventures of Alice-Miranda? You can check out the whole series here (start with #1, Alice-Miranda at School) or visit Jacqueline Harvey’s website for lots more fun and activities!