The Magic of Magnolia Moon
Walker , 2021
160pp., hbk., RRP $A19.99
Magnolia Moon is nine years old, likes Greek mythology, her best friend Imogen May (who understands the importance of questions like, “If you could be one fruit, any fruit, what would you be?”), wishing trees, and speaking crows. She knows instinctively that buffadillos are armadillos crossed with buffalos and believes there are walramingos living in her garden. She’s also the kind of person who can be entrusted with a great many secrets.
But Magnolia Moon also has other talents – she can walk like a crab, dance with her eyebrows and tidy her room using only her toes. But she can also make magic, and knows that it a way to solve problems. And when you’re starting a new class at school -she’s ten now and about to go into Year Five at Thistledown Primary- and your best friend doesn’t live across the road anymore, problems seem to come easily particularly if you feel you are just put of reach, sailing alone even though others are sailing beside you.
In her latest adventure, the sequel to the award-winning The Secrets of Magnolia Moon Magnolia Moon invents everyday magic to help her navigate the pitfalls of friendship, school, family, and being ten. It’s not your abracadabra type magic though – it’s the sort you see when you’re curious and observant and take the time to be in the moment in the world around you, something that her family and others around her seem too busy to do. “Magnolia felt that Real Life was happening all around her. There was no yesterday, or tomorrow. Only right now.’” With her familiar friends still in the story, including the moon who whispers to her every night, as well as a red robin, Hetty, who makes a home in Magnolia’s feather-filled hair, and a ticking, tutting grandfather clock that nags her for being late to add to the fuss made by her creaking, groaning staircase, her adventures with such recognisable issues not only offer the young reader strategies to apply to their own life but also encourages them to enjoy the now, rather than continually rushing to the next thing as though life is some great race with an intangible reward for some mysterious win.
And just as she was captivated by the drama and high stakes of the Greek myths in the first book, in this one, Magnolia is inspired by her book of fairytales and she tries to make real-life connections with the stories she reads. It helps her work out who she is and her place in the world, when others are trying to define her in ways that don’t fit her well.
Like its predecessor, the book spans a year in Magnolia’s life giving the story continuity, each chapter is a separate entity so it is perfect for that bedtime read when just a chapter is enough to transition to the world of dreams. With its recognisable hero mixed with just a touch of fantasy, it is just right for newly independent readers who are reading on and consolidating their love for reading and honing their skills each day. And for those who love this series, there is a third one coming!