‘Bernice Peppercorn’s imagination fills her mind and her notebooks with adventure and intrigue‘ (From the back cover of Bernice Takes A Plunge.)
When our Tedettes saw the cover of this book they just HAD to read it. On the back cover are some of their favourite words, ‘imagination’, ‘notebooks’, ‘adventure’ and ‘intrigue’; and on the front cover is a girl with amazing unruly red hair. Our smooth-red-furred Samantha, who always wanted her own fur to be wild and unruly, got to the book first.
Bernice loves to write. She fills her notebook with ideas for her stories, some of which star herself rescuing her favourite star, Crystal Bell, from a terrible fate such as a shark attack. To get ideas she takes careful notes of the goings on in her town and it really isn’t her fault that the suspicious things she observes and reports to Sergeant Bailey turn out to have explanations not involving kidnappings and detonators after all.
Bernice arrives on the first page totally believable and loveable. This middle grade book has everything: an annoying brother (why are brothers annoying anyway- is it some sort of rule?), a disappearing sock, a celebrity in town, an intriguing theft, a strange fisherman with a wooden leg, a mysterious island, and high drama on the open sea. We have a moral conundrum too as Bernice fibs a bit, well, a lot to the strange fisherman, but we smile as she struggles to work out this dilemma. As for the plunge business .. Ah, well, you see, that’s all in the book!
‘Suddenly my hat was tugged off my head. A fisherman had hooked it as he cast into the ocean .. A dolphin leaped into the air and grabbed the brightest thing he could see. He tore it from the hook …’ From Chapter 10.
Our Samantha loved this book and finished it hoping that author Anne Harth will bring Bernice back in a sequel. Samantha also pondered these questions:
Did leaping dolphins really snatch away all of Bernice’s lost hats?
Will Bernice’s special goo really cure her friends chickenpox?
Will Bernice’s brother ever discover what she did with his bath towel?
Anne Harth, creator of Bernice, writes fiction and non-fiction for children and adults. ‘Strong interesting female characters creep into most of her books, and many arrive with a sense of humour.’ (Afterword, About the Author.)
The Tedettes Jane Austen Book Club
.. loves to read books by and about heroines (this certainly includes Bernice!) They have looked at Jane Austen’s life and books – of course! – and at Georgette Heyer. And soon they will talk about Princessess as you have never seen princesses before. Look out for that one.
Mark, your host here at Baffled Bear Books, is also guardian and blundering typist for Mawson, one of this bright world’s few published bears. Mawson is the writer-bear of It’s A Bright World To Feel Lost In and She Ran Away From Love.