Sunday, November 15, 2009

Review: Perfect Stocking Stuffer Book for Young Adults!

The Magic Pencil

By Karen E. Dabney
Dabs & Company
244 Pages

No matter what you might think The Magic Pencil by Karen E. Dabney is about--it is more! More educational, more fun, more poetic, more inspirational...and more magical! I thoroughly enjoyed reading and learning from this book!

This story is the personal account by a special young man, Malcolm Bakersfield, who was first to notice the magic pencil! Malcolm is very intelligent and always did well in school until he used his first magic pencil and became a straight “A” student! That’s all I’m saying about that now because Malcolm has also shared about a lot of different topics!

My favorite story was about what happened on Halloween. Instead of just dressing up and going out for candy, Malcolm and his friend Nia went to a celebration of Ancestor’s Night, where you dress as cultural heroes and some of those attending share a short story about the individual they are portraying. Plus there are special foods to eat and games to play. I thought this was a grand alternative that would be both educational and fun! I think I would go as Holly Springs, a lady I just learned about recently and who impressed me with her spunky actions!

In addition, I also enjoyed all of the family issues that were discussed—at home and elsewhere. Malcolm’s big brother lived with his father and seemed to have a lot more freedom, but Malcolm was concerned about him because he was thinking of dropping out of school. There were also visits at church, to Malcolm’s cousins, and to attend sports events or just play together. No matter what was happening, you could tell that there was much love and concern about others.

Malcolm’s friends were also important to him and he had become close to the new girl, Nia. Both of them not only cared for each other as friends, but were able to share about any topic of interest or concern. Malcolm was also anxious to help his friends become better in school and would spend time talking about assignments with them.

Now there is also one very important thing about Malcolm’s story that you should know. As explained in the front:

If you don’t understand him at first,
Try reading aloud then you’ll have a thirst...
You might agree with him or have a different view,
It’s OK wit him if it’s OK witchu! (p. vi)

Malcolm writes like we speak every day, but he knows he should use standard English to make his good grades. Nia, the new girl, spoke “proper” English most of the time, except maybe when they’re outside playing. I’ve always been pretty good in standard English, but I had some problems with words like “warsh” for wash or “crik” for creek, cause that’s how we used to say them where I lived.

So, to me, it was so much fun to read and hear Malcolm in my head, because we all need to remember that, we can use standard English and learn all those rules—but that doesn’t mean we can’t understand one another when we want to speak cool!

Needless to say, I loved The Magic Pencil by Karen E. Dabney. If you have children, please get this book as a special Christmas stocking stuffer! It really is a must-read!

G. A. Bixler

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