Review: Make More Noise! anthology
The Make More Noise! anthology was released to celebrate the 100th anniversary of (some) women getting the right to vote, but that doesn’t mean that all of the stories are politically focused.
In fact, it’s a rather conflicting collection: some of the stories are set in the present day, while some are set many years ago; some of them are set in England, while some of them are set in different countries (and one is set in a mystical realm). The settings are often ambiguous, making it impossible to know which time period you’re supposed to be reading until the story is almost at a close. I found it disorienting as an adult reader, so I can’t imagine how the children this collection is aimed at figured things out!
Here are my thoughts on each of the ten stories individually, with the rating for the collection as a whole being the average rating:
Out For The Count by Sally Nicholls – 5/5: I hadn’t heard of the 1911 census boycott before, but that’s what this short story focuses upon. Peeking into an unknown aspect of the suffrage movement was a lot of fun, so Out For The Count was probably my favourite story of the entire collection.
The Bug Hunters by M.G. Leonard – 2/5: A girl is bullied for being fascinated by bugs. Had a nice moral about appreciating who your true friends are but I wasn’t a huge fan of the writing style.
All Things Bright and Beautiful by Patrice Lawrence – 3/5: Based on a true story, which I appreciated, but it felt unfinished and a little bit bland. This was the most forgettable story in the collection, so I can’t really say anything else about it!
The Green-Hearted Girl by Kiran Millwood Hargrave – 3/5: I’ve never been a huge fan of magical realism, but I loved Hargrave’s The Girl of Ink and Stars. Her writing style doesn’t really work in short story form. There are too many aspects that are unexplored, which leaves the reader with a lot of questions, but if she ever decided to expand this story I’d buy it in a heartbeat.
Tea and Jam by Katherine Woodfine – 5/5: A girl explores the idea of freedom after her employer’s friend teaches her about libraries. The bookworm in me was drawn to the protagonist – even though it was left on a cliffhanger and felt unfinished, I was absorbed and couldn’t resist giving it such a high rating.
On Your Bike by Jeanne Willis – 2/5: A mother decides to cycle around the world, only cutting a few corners on the way. This was told through diary entries, which I liked, but they’re far too close together at the beginning and extremely spaced out at the end, making the story feel rushed and hard to follow.
The Tuesday Afternoon Ghost by Ella Risbridger – 1/5: My least favourite story in the collection. The voices are unrealistic – the adults sound like children, while the child protagonist sounds ancient – and the ghost but not a ghost plotline was cliched.
The Otter Path by Emma Carroll – 5/5: Beautifully written, making me want to read more of Carroll’s stories. The otters have strong personalities, while the English countryside is so realistically described that it threw me back in time to my childhood. Delightful from beginning to end.
The Race by Ally Kennen – 4/5: Another very fun story. A girl goes to stay with distant relatives while her parents go on holiday without her, racing against them to try to prove that girls are just as good as boys at riding horses. Wasn’t perfect – the time period was ambiguous and the ending was a little disappointing – but was one of the most enjoyable stories in the collection.
Discuss, Decide, Do by Catherine Johnson – 3/5: Another story with an ambiguous time period. The beginning of the story feels very modern, but it’s eventually established that it takes place in the past. It smoothly combines real historical events with fictional characters, making it a solid end to the collection.
Taking all of that into consideration, I’m giving Make More Noise! a rating of 3.3/5 stars, which rounds down to 3 stars. It’s certainly a fun collection and some of the stories do a great job of informing younger readers of events that occurred during the suffrage movement and how girls felt when women were still unable to vote. Sadly some of the inclusions just don’t feel necessary, no matter how popular the author is in their field.
If you’re interested in learning more about Make More Noise!, check it out on Goodreads. If you decide to buy a copy, please consider using my Amazon affiliate link: I’ll earn a few pennies from your purchase. Thank you!