The Magic of Magnolia Moon
Edwina Wyatt, illustrated by Katherine Quinn
If you take time you will find magic in the everyday things of life – that’s how it is for ten year old Magnolia Moon who returns in this her second book. Her kind of magic is found in many different places – in puddles and boots, in umbrellas and hats, bubbles and fairytale books, even in a tree. It’s that rare, quiet sort that’s easily missed if you don’t know how to look and more important, where. I’ve not read the previous one The Secrets of Magnolia Moon but it made no difference to my enjoyment of this story.
Magnolia faces many challenges in this year of being ten: she has a new teacher – could she be a witch, Miss Mackerel has a broom and a black cat? She has to come to terms with the fact that her best friend Imogen May, who has now moved, will form new friendships as will Magnolia herself, but how many best friends can you have? However there’s still plenty of magic for Magnolia – she’s creative, independent and imaginative, she’s quirky, kind and lots of fun; a very special girl, the person you’d love as your best friend.
Cleverly structured – each chapter presents its own scenario that seques neatly into the next and into the whole narrative, with Magnolia always keeping her eyes and ears open to magical possibilities be they mind magic, green magic or perhaps most important of all, the magic that could help her friend Reuben smile again after his parents’ divorce. True magic is found in kindness, bravery, second chances and real love. Creativity, imagination, and magic of course, have power, and this book is a wonderful celebration of all these. I love too the talking grandfather clock – or is it? The author leaves it to the reader to decide about that, and whether Magnolia’s magic is real or imagined – another wonderful feature of the book.
Add to all this the scattering of Katherine Quinn’s gorgeous black and white illustrations and you have an enchanting, immersive story that invites readers to look at the world around them in a different way and to be open to possibilities at any time.
Aziza’s Secret Fairy Door and the Mermaid’s Treasure
Lola Morayo, illustrated by Cory Reid
Macmillan Children’s Books
This is the fourth in the magical series of adventures inspired by world mythology and it begins as Aziza and her family are preparing for a camping holiday but the weather conditions are let’s say disappointing. As Aziza half-heartedly finishes her packing she notices tiny seashells guiding her towards something: her fairy door is shining again – it’s time to return to Shimmerton.
Almost the next moment Aziza finds herself on the crowded sandy beach where amidst the masses she sees first the Gigglers creating a drama as always, then at the edge of the shore Peri and Tiko and sitting close by on the rocks, a mermaid. The mermaid introduces herself as Sirena and Aziza is hugely impressed when she hears of some of Sirena’s adventures. Suddenly as they chat the ground begins to shake; Aziza fears it’s an earthquake but her new friend assures her it’s a shell-walker sneezing in its sleep deep underground. But when ice-creams and picnic baskets start flying around, the possibility is that the creature is not asleep but about to emerge, grow huge and endanger the whole of Shimmerton. Fortunately Sirena knows of a magic conch shell that plays a song which could just be the answer to their problem.
With no time to lose and with Sirena’s help, the friends embark on an underwater adventure.
It’s one filled with challenges for Aziza but with her reassuring, empowering friends, can she and they avert disaster?
There are new mythological creatures (details of their origins in folklore are given after the adventure) in this exciting, inclusive, summery seaside story that is perfect for young fantasy lovers just taking off as independent readers.