Tuesday, November 26, 2019

All the Colors of Magic

Zinck, Valija. All the Colors of Magic
December 3rd 2019 by Chicken House
E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus

Penelope and her mother and Granny Elizabeth live in a well-loved cottage in the English Countryside. Penelope's father left the family a long time ago, but promised to always provide for the family. When her mother is injured in an accident and has to spend a long time in the hospital recuperating, Penelope wakes up one morning to find her normally gray hair a brilliant red, her energy restored, and the omnipresent smell of smoke gone. Her friends, Tom and Pete, are supportive of her new look, and her teacher, Mr. Potts, is nice as well. It turns out that both Penelope and her father have some magic powers; for instance, Penelope often hears her mother say things a bit before she actually says them. She doesn't get a lot of information about her background from the adults in her life, although Granny Elizabeth does give her a book that contains a recipe for a healing potion that she would like Penelope to make. Penelope tries to teach herself to fly, has conversations with a road that also helps her transport her grandmother, and meets another girl who is like her. Eventually, she decides to go to find her father, since she is mad at him for leaving and for recently sending sand instead of money. When she gets to the town where he is, she finds out the real reason he left, and tries to help him be able to return home.
Strengths: Despite the bad things that happen to Penelope (mother in hospital, father having left), this had a warm, cozy feel to it. I think a lot of elementary students really believe that one morning they will wake up with magic powers, and they would love a book about a a girl teaching herself to fly. I liked that Tom and Pete are good friends, and that the grandmother is there to take care of her.
Weaknesses: A little slow and long; there were a lot of good elements, but this might be more of an elementary book than a middle grade one.
What I really think: Debating. I love British books, but my students are less thrilled by them.

Ms. Yingling

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