Magic by Heartby Amy Gordon, Adam Gustavson
Belle and Sam have longed for a child, but as the years pass they begin to lose hope that they will ever bring one into the world. When they meet Sylvia, their luck begins to change. Sylvia has magical powers and grants Belle and Sam one wish-to have a child. A magical little girl, Arietta, has the power to see into the hearts of people and is loved by the animal kingdom. She also possesses quite a unique cloak, one that allows her to fly. When she is kidnapped by a forlorn magician, it will take all of her power and that of her animal friends to free her.
This fantasy brings together enchanted animals, magical musicians, and mere mortals in a story about seeing into people's true souls.
Gr 3-5 Belle and Sam, owners of the Mink Street Deli, have all but given up hope of having a child. Then a magical woman named Silvia helps make their dream come true by explaining to them that they have to eat an artichoke every day for a year, and save the leaves to make a cloak. It works. Their much-longed-for Arietta is a special child who has the magical power to see into people's hearts. When the child first meets Silvia's brother, Hector, an unhappy magician who, believing himself to be ugly, changes faces with the help of a magic mirror, she sees his true worth. Unfortunately, he kidnaps Arietta as she is the only one who accepts him. The girl must then call upon all of her inner goodness and the help of her magical friends to regain her freedom. This eccentric fantasy is full of quirky characters including enchanted, chocolate-loving giant pigeons and a fashion designer who creates the cloak of artichoke leaves, which enables the wearer to fly. The complicated plot is sometimes overwhelming with its many twists and turns. Unfortunately, Gustavson's simple black-and-white sketches will do little to help further readers' understanding. As a result, the original message about the power of an innocent child to see the truth in people's hearts is diluted and, at times, completely lost.-Carole Phillips, Greenacres Elementary School, Scarsdale, NY
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