When Miranda’s teacher tells her that all she needs is an imagination to make miracles happen, she begins trying to make the ordinary extraordinary.
After Miranda writes about the dangers of smoking, her grandmother gives up cigarettes. An essay discussing the joy of having chickens as pets precedes the arrival of three fluffy chicks. Miranda begins to suspect that she is actually creating miracles with her writing. When her sister is once again hospitalized for an unnamed but deadly illness, Miranda wonders if her writing might offer a cure. She writes a story, set in the magical country of Magnanimous, with its scones-and-jam trees and giraffe police, featuring a brave girl willing to risk her life to retrieve a cup of life-giving water for a sick fairy princess. But when Miranda catches her grandmother smoking in the garage and suspects that the chicks were really just a gift to distract her from her sister’s illness, her confidence begins to wane. Miranda is bright, hopeful, and appropriately naïve. However, her dry sense of humor when dealing with her odd grandmother, her overzealous friend, and her sister’s long-term illness are what make the pages fly by. Set in Ireland, the book assumes a white default, characters differentiated mostly just by hair color.
Warm, smart, and completely lovable: Miranda. (Fiction. 9-12)