Autumn Moonbeam: Dance Magic / Isadora Moon and the Shooting Star

Autumn Moonbeam: Dance Magic
Emma Finlayson-Palmer and Heidi Cannon
UCLAN Publishing

Meet Autumn Moonbeam lover of dance and gymnastics and enthusiastic watcher of dance shows on spell-a-vision. Imagine her delight when she learns of a try-out for Sparkledale Dance Academy’s competitive dance team, Black Cats: she’s so excited she can barely concentrate in her Potions lesson in school. Once back home she and her two friends Leif and Batty practise their moves in Autumn’s garden.

There’s a rather large problem though, her arch enemy Severina Bloodworth is also trying out for the team and she’s pretty amazing. Autumn suffers a crisis of confidence: what if she’s not good enough?
Then comes audition day. There are highs and lows as the event proceeds in front of the three coaches: will Autumn secure one of the four places on offer?

Emma Finlayson’s spell-tastic tale of whirling, twirling young witches is a delight. It has some charming characters (and the occasional not so charming one), warm family dynamics, strong friendships and key messages about self belief, overcoming your collywobbles, not forgetting the pure joyful liberating magic of dance. Pure enchantment too are Heidi Cannon’s illustrations: the perfect complement to Emma’s sparkly writing. If you know anyone looking for their next chapter book series, this would be a terrific choice, especially for lovers of dance and magical things.

Isadora Moon and the Shooting Star
Harriet Muncaster
Oxford Children’s Books

Decidedly different Isadora Moon is enormously excited when her teacher Miss Cherry announces that their next class project is space. To get their brains thinking skywards, the homework for that evening is to create something to do with space. Isadora enlists the help of her Dad and that night as they watch the sky from the astronomy tower, what’s that Isadora spies falling earthwards?

A shooting star perhaps? The hunt is on for its landing place.

Then follows an encounter with a new, twinkling friend named Nova, a Glow Sprite who’s not supposed to be there. Moreover, Nova’s moon kitten Pluto is missing and she needs Isadora’s help to find him. Between space lessons with a special visitor, emergency searches in the forest, magical campfires, a glowing sleepover, not to mention moon cheese, Isadora must do all she can to help Nova find Pluto before her new friend has to fly back to the stars in time for her mother’s return.

With her keynote pink, silver and black sparkly cover, and pink and black illustrations throughout, Harriet Muncaster’s fourteenth episode starring our favourite fairy/vampire is full of its usual charm and humour and certain to delight Isadora’s countless fans. They’ll be delighted too, by the Isadorable make and do activities following the story.

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