2 out of 4 stars
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Author Hawk Selah presents The Magician Cat. The magician cat is known far and wide, and he is in town. He has a surprise final magic trick for the children who are here to see his show. Alas, in the middle of the act, an important prop goes missing! The cat begs the children for help to find it. Will the children help? Will the show go on?
The story is told in only nine pages, four of them full-page pictures. The pictures are vibrant and will catch the eye of the target audience: young children. The other five pages contain twenty rhyming verses.
The verses are generally written in simple language that kids would understand. There are a few words that may be unfamiliar, though, like “marveling,” “trickster,” “steep,” “staggering,” and “abound.” A tutor may need to explain those new words or teach the youngsters to consult a dictionary. While the rhyming would sustain interest, there are forced rhymes that may not be appreciated by children. The final line seems abrupt, too.
The verses, at four to a page, are too crowded. Since every page has a white orb against a dark blue background, the words written on the blue part are hard to decipher. I suggest that only two verses occupy a page, so these can be accommodated inside the white orb.
While the pictures are nicely drawn, I believe there should be more of them. Also, the facial features of the characters have to be worked on to show more realistic emotions. Right now, the cat wears the same expression in three of the four pictures. The illustrator also needs to ensure continuity; in one picture, the cat is shown sans his cape. The cover page may likewise not be appropriate as it depicts a Halloween setting when there is nothing spooky in the book.
While the story has some chase scenes (reminiscent of Sylvester hounding Tweety Bird) to excite the youngster, there is no clear moral lesson. The cat seeks the help of the children, but the promise of payment takes away the good in the deed. This may be another area for the author’s consideration.
I also noted various errors in the verses. These are mostly improper punctuation and inaccurate words. Children’s books ought to have flawless grammar to be effective learning tools.
I give this book 2 out of 4 stars for now. It will entertain kids up to ten years old. School-age kids can read it on their own; the younger ones will enjoy it being read to them by an expressive narrator. Reading the verses aloud would be ideal to take advantage of the rhymes. Nevertheless, the author needs to improve the grammar and illustrations and to inject a moral lesson. Those enhancements will work like magic. While the author is wielding their wand, they may want to give the cat a name.
The Magician Cat
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