Top critical review
Reviewed in the United States on November 27, 2019
Molly and the Magic Flower is a children's book about the adventure of a Manatee and her sting ray friend.
It is a longer picture book- 87 pages- with more text than images. This would be good for child with a long attention span or an independent reader who is ready for chapter books.
I liked the facts about sea life (at the end of the book ) the best. It really tied in parts of the story that I questioned.
The story combined facts about sea life and fantasy elements. At times it felt like too much was crammed into the story and there were too many elements competing in the story line. Some parts of the book that I questioned why it was included and not edited for content were cleared up in the fact session in the story. For example- was it necessary to mention that the sting ray was dancing? It was odd in the story, but the fact section stated that sting rays do a sort of "dance" when they feed. The odd bits seemed to be there to add facts about the sea creatures.
I was frustrated at some of the repetitive nature of the story- did it need to be mentioned so many times that sting rays only sting when they are threatened not to attack?
I appreciate the illustrators choice in media- watercolor. It is a magical medium that I think is under utilized in children's literature. I was disappointed in the images- they did not always adequately reflect what was happening in the story. Consistency in quality of the illustrations is also lacking. Parts of an image were well done and beautiful, other parts reminded me of some of my early watercolor work in college- choppy with little layering and depth.
I also found it odd that mermaids would drink tea under water.
If a child is interested in coral reefs and sea animals, this is a lovely story and there is a lot to learn.
The story has themes of friendship, diversity, bullying, and acceptance.
I have thought about if I like or dislike the book and cannot come to a decision. "Molly and the Magic Flower" has positive and negative aspects. I cannot strongly encourage or discourage one to purchase this book., hence my headline of "meh."
I thank the author for an ARC of this book. The opinions are mine alone.