The Magic Wand; When Anna Slept Over
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This issue’s cover shows Neil Gaiman (photo © Kelli Bickman) with his book The Comical Tragedy or Tragical Comedy of Mr Punch illustrated by Dave McKean. Neil Gaiman is interviewed by Nicholas Tucker. Thanks to Bloomsbury for their help with this November cover.
The Magic Wand
Illustrated by Mitch Vane
When Anna Slept Over
Illustrated by Andrew McLean
Part of a ‘First Readers’ series, these stories are divided into chapters with plentiful line and wash illustrations and a large typeface. Reflections by the author and illustrator at the end of each book are a novel and helpful way of finding discussion pointers for the child and relevant adult, should any be needed.
In When Anna Slept Over Anna is delighted to be going to a sleepover at her best friend Josie’s house, but then the doubts set in... Why can’t she go to the wedding her parents are due to attend? And how will she be able to get to sleep without Sheepy, her battered piece of sheepskin rug? But what would Josie think? Readers will quickly and easily identify with Anna and her fears, and be happy that everything turns out well for her in the end. Anna also grows up a bit in the process, showing children that they too will achieve things when the time is right.
In The Magic Wand Becky gets fed up with her baby brother Ed constantly following her, so when she finds a large stick in the garden, it is the work of an instant to turn it into a magic wand. And because Ed won’t leave her alone, she just HAS to use it. The trouble is, the next moment her brother really does seem to have disappeared... Somewhat coincidentally, a black cat appears just after her brother vanishes – and as if that is not enough, her mother then asks Becky to get her brother. Filled with the suspense, young readers will not be able to put the book down until the story is resolved. However, Dubosarsky manages to have the last laugh with a gentle sting in the tail which could also provide fruit for much discussion. Well recommended for the classroom or library. RL