I love a good multi-generational story, especially when it is also a story about storytelling. I have really fond memories of my bubby (grandmother in Yiddish) telling the most outrageous stories. We thought about having her type them up, but we didn’t get it done soon enough and we didn’t help her do it, so now they are lost. I admire those who have the gift to create stories and in The Magician’s Secret, by Zachary Hyman and illustrated by Joe Bluhm, we get a gem of a story about the power of storytelling and the power of the grandparent/grandchild relationship.
*Note – I received a review copy of this book from the #kidlitexchange. All opinions are my own.
The Magician’s Secret focuses on Charlie and his Grandpa. “Grandpa was like a big kid who never grew up,” Charlie explains. That is the joy of being a grandparent. You often have less responsibilities and more time and gumption to be a kid again. What Charlie loves best is Grandpa’s stories that all spring from some object that he has hidden away in his Magic Story Chest. Because of his wonderful story telling ability and because he truly loves to spend time with Charlie, Grandpa is Charlie’s favorite babysitter.
This story not only shines a light on the bond between grandparent and grandchild, but it champions the power of storytelling, the power of believing, and the power of dreams. When Charlie’s dad says that all of the stories are made up, Charlie’s grandfather says that it is only because grown-ups have “lost the faith in make believe,” which is too bad because our imaginations can turn dreams into reality. He then gives Charlie all sorts of examples about how someone’s dream came to fruition – “Whatever you believe, you can achieve!” We keep saying that we want our children to be inventors and scientists, but they have to be strong enough to think outside of the box and be dreamers in order to come up with anything new.
While I love the text, I can’t write about this book without mentioning the illustrations. They are really wonderful and completely carry you through the story. They are bold and quiet at the same time and paint Charlie’s grandpa as just a wonderful man that you wish was your grandpa too. A really great book!