May 01, 2018

Polly Diamond and the Magic Book

Written by Alice Kuipers
Illustrated by Diana Toledano
Chronicle Books
120 pp.
Ages 6-9
May 2018

Readers have always known that there is magic in the pages of books and the written word.  But little Polly Diamond, a positive and optimistic child with more joie de vivre than anyone since Pollyanna, finds a magic there like no other.

With the family anticipating a new baby, Polly will be moving into her little sister Sarah's bedroom.   To help ease the transition, Polly is gifted a turquoise book inscribed with "A Writing and Spelling Book for Polly Diamond" on the inside. To say that Polly is excited about this gift would be an understatement.
From Polly Diamond and the Magic Book by Alice Kuipers, illus. by Diana Toledano
But even more special is the magic with which the book is infused.  When Polly begins writing in it, the book writes back, speaking to her about its name, her baby brother and ultimately directing her in the process of writing a story.  And as Polly writes, the book makes it happen, like helping her paint the walls of the bedroom or making her invisible.  Polly is delighted to learn that anything she imagines can become real if she writes it down.  But, as the classic adage goes about being careful what you wish for, Polly learns that her imagination and her word choice must be harnessed especially as her book reads everything literally and not as Polly always intends.
From Polly Diamond and the Magic Book by Alice Kuipers, illus. by Diana Toledano
Suffice it to say that, after a number of whimsical calamities, Polly Diamond and the Magic Book still resolves with many happy endings including the arrival of Polly's new baby brother and Polly's naming of her book with a multifaceted title that demonstrates word power in yet another form.

Saskatchewan writer Alice Kuipers continues to impress with the breadth of her writing which spans from picture books and early readers to her forte, young adult novels. (See my reviews of Me (and) Me, The Death of Us, and 40 Things I Want to Tell You.)  All books inspire readers to be imaginative and answer the classic "What if?" directive of writing.  In Polly Diamond and the Magic Book, the question of "What if that which you wrote in a book could magically become real?" is asked and answered with playfulness, joy and affable mishap. Young readers will snicker as Anna is transformed into a tutu-wearing banana, the Aquarium Blue paint converts the walls to a living fishbowl, and the staircase is made of musical note steps.  The story is rich with imagery (and darling images courtesy of Spain's Diana Toledano) and the fantastic and, though things do awry, because sometimes your imagination can run a little wild (!), Polly Diamond and the Magic Book is an uplifting early reader that encourages creative writing and the spiritedness of words.  It's Super-Polly-tastic!


Check out Alice Kuipers' Guest Post tomorrow
 here at CanLit for LittleCanadians

as part of the

Blog Tour
for Polly Diamond and the Magic Book 

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