THE MAGIC OF LETTERS by Tony Johnston

THE MAGIC OF LETTERS

by ; illustrated by
Age Range: 4 - 8
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KIRKUS REVIEW

Journey through a land where words take flight and spark creativity.

A fantastical bespectacled rabbit is readers’ guide into a top hat and through Johnston and Minor’s wonderland of words as they celebrate the power of language to instruct, inspire, and delight children. The journey, which begins and ends on the dust cover, is reminiscent of Lewis Carroll’s classic topsy-turvy adventure, complete with a rabbit magician whose adeptness with wordplay prompts it to take a bow at the end. “Letters hold POWER,” it says, before going on to celebrate “giggling words like flibbertigibbet. Yummy words like QUESADILLA [and] bewitching words like enchanted.” Put together, “they say what you need to tell somebody. ‘The flibbertigibbet ate an enchanted quesadilla,’ ” for instance. The illustrations, which range from a scene done in a collage style incorporating cutout words to a blue, fairy-filled dreamscape, capture the sense of wonder that the story wishes to covey. The design makes clever use of the double-page spread to convey a child’s joy at recognizing their name in print and the power of words to literally make imaginations soar. Given the sophistication of some of the words in the story, it is best read with slightly older kindergarteners. While the rabbit is firmly established in the narrative, the two children, one black and one white, who occasionally appear in the illustrations feel less connected to the text.

A charming ode to the lyricism of language. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 23rd, 2019
ISBN: 978-0-8234-4159-4
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Neal Porter/Holiday House
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1st, 2019




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