Monday, 1 June 2015

Lily and the Magic Wall

Lily and the Magic Wall by Stefanie Godinho, illustrated by Grace Chen (Little Steps Publishing)

PB RRP $16.95
ISBN: 9781925117332

Reviewed by Anne Hamilton

This is an unusual book with an apparently high language level for its young target audience. (‘Ecstatic’, for instance, is not a word I’d expect a pre-schooler or first year to know.) Both the occasional word of this nature and the length of the book seemed to suggest it would be more suitable to an older age group.

The story is equally unusual. It’s hard to classify. Not quite fantasy, not quite magic realism or fairy tale, not quite adventure.

Lily, a white terrier, is taken by her mother (eventually revealed to be human and not doggy in a late illustration) on a walk to the beach for her birthday. She loses sight of her mum and finds a delicious-smelling magic wall. Behind it are six different shaped doors. The silver star shape attracts Lily but she tries the others first, exploring them one by one and finding different places behind them all. In one, she finds animals of the Australian outback. In another, she finds a celebrity dressing room. Eventually she finds a surprise party for herself.

Delicate pastel illustrations bring this sweet story to life. Grace Chen has superbly captured Lily’s moods. Her illustrations of the haughty cats are a real treat.

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