The Art of Magic

Carolrhoda. May 2022. 328p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781728415673.
Gr 4-6–Zuzu is not looking forward to her first summer without her best friend who recently moved away. The hobbies they shared are not as fun to do alone. But when she has the opportunity to visit the historic Mapleton Mansion, she doesn’t hesitate to go beyond the velvet ropes into the private rooms. While there, she experiences a meet-cute with a fellow student who feels just as out of place—the perfect ingredient to form a wholesome friendship. The pair stumbles upon enchanted art supplies that bring their creations to life. But when a villainous creator emerges, they will have to rely on friendship, artistic skills, and the unexpected development of their inner strength to combat the evil that wishes to consume their town. The magical rules created by Voskuil feel exciting and somewhat plausible within the characters’ real worlds. Though the initial seed of the plot’s conflict feels tenuous, the resolution and lessons learned overshadow the antagonist’s questionable motivation.
VERDICT This creative fantasy will move well with fans of Tae Keller’s When You Trap a Tiger and Lorelei Savaryn’s The Edge of In Between.

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