All the Colors of Magic by Valija Zinck


 All the Colors of Magic by Valija Zinck, translated from the German by Helen Jennings, Chicken House/Scholastic, 9781338540611, 2019

Format: Paperback (uncorrected proof)

Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review):  4

Genre:  Middle grade fantasy

What did you like about the book?  All the Colors of Magic is a delightful fantasy about a girl who discovers she is more than she thinks she is.  Living with her mother, grandmother, and mysterious cat in a house that resembles (to her) a dragon, ten year old Penelope learns that she is capable of amazing feats – and – that the father who her mother once loved so ardently may not actually be dead.  As she comes into her power she sets off to discover the truth and right a wrong. A fine adventure for the under-12s.

Anything you didn’t like about it?  The title doesn’t fit the story – The only color that figures importantly in the plot is Penelope’s hair.  Also, it takes approximately 100 pages for the adventure to truly begin. It feels like a lot of groundwork for a relatively quick payoff.  There is also a brief section of the story, in which Penelope meets Gina & family, that takes away from the action more than it adds.

To whom would you recommend this book?  This is a fun read for kids who also enjoy Funke’s The Thief Lord (though this is a younger read) or the Araminta Spook series by Angie Sage.  Readers who enjoy this might also like The Secret of Sooty Wick Inn by Lindgren.

Who should buy this book? Public Libraries and elementary schools.

Where would you shelve it? Middle grade fiction

Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? No.

Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City and State:  Robin Shtulman, Athol Public Library, Athol, MA

Date of review:  22 August 2019

 

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