Spells by Emily Gravett

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Spells by Emily Gravett

Category: For Sharing
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Keith Dudhnath
Reviewed by Keith Dudhnath
Summary: Emily Gravett does it again! Children will love creating hybrid creatures as a frog tries to get the right spell to turn himself into a prince. The interaction isn't tacked on, and will delight every young child.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 32 Date: October 2009
Publisher: Macmillan Children's Books
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-0230531369

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A frog discovers a book, but he wishes it was a boat, so he tears and folds the pages to turn it into the boat. He soon tires of that game, and wishes it was a castle, so he tears and folds it again, as well as cutting out a model of a beautiful princess. As fun as his new game is, it lacks a certain reality. Spotting that it's actually a book of spells, he sets about putting together the torn bits of paper, so he can turn himself into a prince.

Emily Gravett's recent book The Rabbit Problem was a joy of paper engineering, and whilst Spells isn't as detailed, the same sense of fun is strong throughout. It involves pages cut in half widthways, allowing the spells and their results to be mixed and matched. Children will love playing with them, creating fabbits, snewts and nirds. It would be very easy for this to just be a simple toy, but there is a strong narrative; the interaction is appropriate rather than tacked on, and it works perfectly.

As always with Emily Gravett's work, the illustrations are superb. They have a timeless quality, which make this and all her books particularly good present choices. There are a healthy smattering of comic touches throughout, with the twist in the tail being particularly good fun. It's brimming with the atmosphere of fairy tales, dusty old spell books, and that whole magical world. It's a real joy to read.

Any children who haven't yet learned to read themselves will love Spells, and will get the joke. Even those who can read will enjoy sneaking a peek and playing with the various hybrid creatures. It'd be great to read to young 'uns over Halloween: it's brimming with atmosphere, but there's nothing scary or inappropriate for even the most sensitive of souls. Highly recommended.

Oh, and Emily Gravett's website has a number of games and activities, including a wordsearch based on Spells.

My thanks to the publishers for sending it to Bookbag.

For more gentle spookiness, check out Trixie The Witch's Cat by Nick Butterworth. If castles and princes are your thing, Small Knight and George and the Royal Chocolate Cake by Ronda Armitage and Arthur Robins is great fun, and comes with a delicious recipe for chocolate cake.

Booklists.jpg Spells by Emily Gravett is in the Top Ten Picture Books For Halloween.
Buy Spells by Emily Gravett at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Spells by Emily Gravett at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy Spells by Emily Gravett at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Spells by Emily Gravett at Amazon.com.


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