ISLAND MAGIC by Martha Bennett Stiles


Age Range: 5 - 8
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This peaceful yet affecting story from Stiles recounts a boy’s efforts to get his grandfather to feel at home when he comes to live with the boy’s family. The boy remembers all the fine times he had at his grandfather’s dairy farm—how the two of them would walk to the barn and the grandfather would regale him with interesting tidbits—and he wants his grandfather to feel the same excitement and pleasure in his new home, an island in the Detroit River. But the grandfather is taciturn in his displacement, full of memories and the pang of time’s passage. The boy is a masterful psychological strategist, gently nudging his grandfather toward joy in his new surroundings, yet never demanding a commitment. Gradually, quietly, as befits San Souci’s elegant winter-spare landscapes, the grandfather discovers a new life—often through the boy’s associating various elements of the island with the dairy farm. It is a subtle drift, and all the better for it, as the boy, the grandfather, and the island home meld into a give-and-take that marks a fruitful, abiding relationship. This affectionate story would make an excellent companion to Douglas Wood’s Grandad’s Prayers of the Earth (see review, below) (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1999
ISBN: 0-689-80588-8
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Atheneum
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1st, 1999