________________ CM . . . . Volume XXI Number 13 . . . . November 28, 2014


Sam's Magic Mirror.

Emily Madill. Art by Izabela Bzymek.
Nanaimo, BC: Em & Joe Books (www.emilymadill.com), 2014.
44 pp., pbk., $7.99.
ISBN 978-0-9881273-2-6.

Grades 2-3 / Ages 7-8.

Review by Kate Hachborn.

** /4



What was she going to say to everyone when explaining WHY she should be class president? She didn't feel like the prettiest girl in class, or the smartest, she certainly wasn't the most popular like Gemma, or even very sporty.

The next day at school, the knot in Sam's stomach seemed to get bigger and bigger each time she thought of having to talk in front of the class.

All through the day, she had tried to think of how she could convince the other students to vote for her. But her mind was completely blank. She was all out of good ideas.

When Sam's friends nominate her to be class president, she will run against the most popular girl in school, and she is not sure that she is up to the challenge. Sam tries to adopt the best qualities of each of her friends, losing herself and some friends in the process. Once she acknowledges her strengths and those of her friends, Sam gains the confidence and support to focus her efforts on the election.

internal art      The combination of colourful illustrations and simple text will appeal to transitioning readers, but a class election may also be unrealistic for this level of reader. Sam's Magic Mirror offers an important message, expressly stated in Sam's campaign slogan that, as individuals, people should "be you, be true." This is a positive message encouraging young girls to embrace their strengths and weaknesses as a whole, but the message is far from subtle, bordering on idealistic. Sam's opponent in the campaign demonstrates a maturity potentially beyond her years, embracing the loss and even offering to help her victor. Sam has such insightful self-reflection during the election process, stating, "I don't know who I am anymore," which reads more as an adult enforcing a message than a realistic depiction of the age group included in the story.

      Drawn in a cartoon style, the full-colour illustrations are vibrant, detailed and will engage young readers. Each scene looks like a snapshot from an animated television program suggesting action within the illustration and encouraging readers to imagine the progression of the story.

      Emily Madill is a self-published author with a degree in Business and Psychology. She has published other titles that aim to inspire children and instill confidence in themselves.

Recommended with reservations.

Kate Hachborn is a library technician at the W. Ross Macdonald School in Brantford, ON.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.
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The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
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