I’m always on the lookout for great transitional chapter books. I think I have a book buyer inside of me just waiting to get out. Transitional chapter books are one of the things that my local libraries really seem to lack. We have digital versions of some of them, but the actual, physical book is so important at this age. When I find those books, I am extra happy to share them here.
One of my latest finds was a wonderful book called Polly Diamond. A few months ago I was able to download a digital review copy of Polly Diamond and the Magic Book, by Alice Kuipers from NetGalley (all opinions are completely my own). This is planned to be the first in a series of books about Polly Diamond. My 7 year old read it and absolutely adored it. It is aimed at kids K-2 who are really starting to get comfortable reading on their own. It not only is a fun book encouraging children in the early years of their reading adventures, but it encourages children to write and be creative. Win-Win in my book.
The concept of this story is that young Polly Diamond loves to write stories. She also lives in a house that she feels is too small and her family is expecting a new baby so she is moving in with her younger sister. When she mysteriously gets a journal in the mail, it turns out to be a magical journal that not only writes back to her, but does whatever she writes! It turns her invisible, paints her new bedroom, and even turns her sister into a banana. She thinks that this is the coolest thing ever, but soon comes to realize that what you think and what you write are not always the same. For example, after she writes herself a new palatial home she asks her journal for a club sandwich and gets two pieces of buttered bread around a wooden bat. She also can’t find her kitchen in her new palatial palace.
Kids will really enjoy the way words really have a variety of meanings and realize how important it is to say what you actually mean. The fun black & white pictures help keep them entertained and bring the story to life. A definite winner for kids ready to read slightly longer books.
I like her writing and the book itself but I felt that making the character Black was to make it more diverse for a money grab.
You may be right, but on the other hand, perhaps it just normalizes the fact that lead characters can be any race and it doesn’t impact the book. Whereas books like Meet Yazmin! or Emma is on the Air make culture part of their story, this one is just a book, not a multicultural book.