Children's Book Reviews

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Don't we all wish we had a magical dress or jacket to help us deal with life's challenges? I do. Cinderella did on the night she went to the ball. The closest we come to it is to maybe wear a special piece of jewelry. I do have a Liberty of London print hankie that I wear in my pocket for book signings for the one book out so far. In truth, like with Kayla, in this charming little book, the magic really grows and comes from inside us. I think all children know this instinctively until it is socialized out of them, and then, like Kayla, they have to discover it all over again. I wish for you some magic, a token, a dress, a hat, or in your heart, in this Holiday Season!

Kayla is six years old and she adores her red dress. It is magical. She can do anything when she is wearing it: get the best grades in school, sing well in choir, play soccer, and enjoy her best friend’s birthday party. That is until her dog Sunshine runs so fast with his leash on that she falls down and gets a big stain on her magical red dress. Mommy puts it in the laundry, but then it disappears! Kayla doesn’t know how she can participate in Field Day at school without it until she finds a hidden secret inside herself.
Author Stephanie Davis captures just how little girls act, feel, and think in this humorous tale that also shows the young reader, in a deep way, that they are brave and strong no matter what. Best of all, the book fills a need for diversity in children’s books by an author who uses her own first voice experience to share with children so that they can begin to know that they too can be narrators in words and pictures of their rich culture. It is also for children from a different cultural point of view to get to know and appreciate other cultures and sub-cultures.
Robert Paul Jr’s illustrations marry well with the text with his quirky, expressive, and colorful spreads. Children 5-8 years will find Kayla a delightful friend in a book to be read over and over. The classroom library will also benefit from this imaginative book. Teachers can incorporate it into their art, social studies, and self-esteem curricula.


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