George’s Marvelous Medicine by Roald Dahl

George’s Marvelous Medicine by Roald Dahl (originally published 1981) is a book I never got to enjoy as a child, but since I have always loved Roald Dahl ridiculousness, I knew this would be a fun one. In fact, my son was the one who originally checked it out (fresh off of a reread of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory). After he finished it, he could not stop talking about the funny parts of it. I knew I had to give the brief volume a read!

In this story, George is tired of his complaining Grandmother that he must care for every afternoon. He decides to concoct a new medicine that will stop her whining once and for all. I love the ridiculous magical effects! First, his medicine makes her grow too tall, and then his medicine . . . well, I could tell you, but that would spoil the fun!Continue Reading

Julia’s House for Lost Creatures by Ben Hatke

The cartoon-like illustrations in Julia’s House for Lost Creatures by Ben Hatke (First Second Books, September 2014) perfectly match the child-like imaginative story.  It begins with fantastic personification:

Julie’s house came to town and settled by the sea.

And Julia is obviously not a normal girl, for when she decides to open her home to lost creatures, she finds herself welcoming not just “patched up Kitty” but a sad troll and all sorts of other monsters.Continue Reading

The Enchanted Castle by E. Nesbit

The Enchanted Castle by E. Nesbit (published 1907) is a tale of modern magical enchantments. Three children, Gerald (Jerry), Jimmy, and Kathleen (Cathy), stumble upon a large estate that reminds them of a castle; in their play acting, they stumble upon a sleeping girl they decide must be a princess. Despite her later declaration that she is just the housemaid’s niece, Mabel, their play-acting seems to have become real when the ring she puts on has become a ring of invisibility.

Mabel, Jerry, Jimmy, and Cathy proceed to have a summer of magical adventures, for the ring’s magic powers extend much farther. Although somewhat ridiculous in its magical extent, The Enchanted Castle provides plenty of realistic moments to keep the story, as a whole, grounded for young children.Continue Reading

Five Children and It by E. Nesbit

Five Children and It by E. Nesbit is an Edwardian children’s adventure originally published in 1902. There are no parents or guardians to stop the fun, and the children know where to find fun! In this adventure, four children and their baby brother come across a sand-fairy, who is able to grant them wishes that last until sunset. But the sand-fairy does not like to give them wishes, and when the children make wishes, things don’t turn out as nicely as they’d hoped!Continue Reading