Review: Upside-Down Magic (Upside-Down Magic #1)

Nine-year-old Nory cannot control her magic. She has the ability to transform into different animals, but unfortunately for Nory, this means many hungry, sometimes dangerous creatures at the same time. During her exam to receive a spot in her father’s prestigious magic academy, everything goes wrong for Nory—especially after she tries eating her dad and almost burns the school to fiery pieces. Sent away to live with her aunt and attend the Upside-Down Magic Academy, a school for children who have equally wonky abilities, Nory must come to terms with her powerful magic. Even though Nory spends most her time trying to make friends and prove that she deserves a spot in her father’s academy, she begins to appreciate and control her abilities. Upside-Down Magic is a fantastical read perfect for third to sixth graders that would entice those harder to engage readers. With themes of friendship, bullying, and acceptance,…

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Review: The Girl Who Drank The Moon by Kelly Barnhill

Every year, the Protectorate holds the Day of Sacrifice where one baby is given to the evil witch in the woods in return for leaving the villagers in peace. This day causes great sorrow in the town as children are ripped from parents’ arms and a constant fog looms over the isolated and dreary residents. The Elders who rule the Protectorate do not believe that a witch exists and use the story and sacrifice as a way to manipulate and rule over the townspeople. Xan, an ancient but kind witch, does in fact live in the forest and rescues these abandoned babies, giving them new homes in the Free Cities. One baby, who Xan names Luna, accidentally becomes “enmagicked” when Xan feeds her from the moon instead of the stars. Xan decides to raise Luna with the help of a gentle and naïve dragon and large but softy swamp monster.…

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Review: Yours Sincerely, Giraffe

Giraffe is bored and decides to write a letter to anyone who Pelican can find over the African horizon. In fact, Pelican is pretty bored too and can use some excitement. Giraffe’s letter makes its way into the hands (or flippers) of Penguin who immediately writes back. Commence an endearing pen pal relationship as the two animals attempt to better understand each other and grow a new and comical friendship. Geared toward high-level first grade readers to lower-level fourth grade readers, Yours Sincerely, Giraffe is a sweet and playful story about friendship, connection, differences, and learning. I laughed out loud as Penguin tries to find Whale’s neck and as they attempt to look like each other. Littler kids can enjoy the human-like and relatable qualities of the animals. Takabatake’s illustrations are simple and clean, helping to support Iwasa’s endearing text. Unfortunately I empathized with Giraffe, finding myself slightly bored. While…

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