The Trouble with Violet

Trouble with VioletThe Trouble With Violet is the first book in the Sister Magic series, and it sets up the books that follow. It’s a cute story of two very different sisters. Mabel is eight, and she’s very organized. She knows how things ought to be, and prefers that everything go according to plan. Violet is five and is pretty much a force of chaos. The story is told primarily from Mabel’s point of view.

When her Uncle Vartan visits them for the first time, Mabel learns that magic runs in their family. She thinks of all the good she could do with magic because she knows how to follow the rules. Of course, it’s Violet who actually has the magical tendencies.

SPOILER ALERT: Things you might want to know before suggesting this to your kid


Of course magical ability is frequently something to be kept quiet, and it turns out that Mabel’s mother is mortified by the magical abilities that some members of the family have. However, I was very uncomfortable when Mabel’s mother made her promise not to tell her father or answer her sister if she asks about magic. That’s a horrible position to put your child in.

Creative vs. Organized

My daughter really liked Mabel, and I’m sure she could identify with her in many ways. When I read the story, though, it was very clear to me that you aren’t supposed to want to be like Mabel. It’s Violet with her creativity and free spirit that you’re supposed to want to be like. I’m glad my daughter didn’t pick up on that vibe, as it might make her wonder if her tendencies aren’t ok. I don’t think we’ll be picking up more books in this series.


The name of the series is Sister Magic, so it’s not surprising that most of the focus is on the sisters and their relationship. Mabel is often annoyed by Violet and doesn’t understand the choices she makes, but overall they get along pretty well and obviously love each other. Mabel’s best friend gets along with Violet, even to the point of occasionally choosing to play with her over Mabel (at which point Mabel realizes they’re having more fun and decides to go play with them).

Mabel’s mother gets along well with her sister, but her relationship with her magical younger brother is very strained.


This is definitely a book for younger readers, although parts of it are written in cursive, so either wait until your child can read cursive or expect to translate.

The Trouble With Violet by Anne Mazer
Published in 2007 by Scholastic Inc.
First in the Sister Magic series
Read hard copy

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