Friday, 9 December 2016

Winter Magic by Abi Elphinstone + More


Winter Magic is an anthology of short stories all revolving around the winter season, written by a number of children's authors. The collection was curated by Abi Elphinstone, who also has a story of her own within the book, alongside ten other authors. The author that drew me to the book initially was Emma Carroll, who is my favourite middle grade author, and her story within definitely didn't disappoint. Although going in knowing only the one author, I've come away wanting to read the entire works of all the authors inside!

Captivating from the very introduction, Winter Magic is the kind of book that's great to dip in and out of, enveloping you in warm winter fuzzies with every page you turn. Naturally, with a collection of short stories like this, certain stories are going to be favoured over others and below I'm sharing with you my favourite five stories from within the book.

A NIGHT AT THE FROST FAIR BY EMMA CARROLL
After leaving her Grandma in a care home, and travelling back through a busy London on a winter's night with her family, Maya soon finds herself in a very different kind of busy London... A London from many, many years ago. Having travelled through time with a gift given to her by her Grandma, Maya's world is turned upside down but ultimately changed for the better. A Night at the Frost Fair was a lovely opening to the eleven stories, and such an atmospheric read. Emma Carroll does winter so well.

SOMEONE LIKE THE SNOW QUEEN BY BERLIE DOHERTY
Inspired by the renowned story of the Snow Queen, Orla finds herself on a journey of discovery after allowing her younger brother to fend for himself and ultimately be lead away by the 'Snow Queen'. This is one of those stories that has a strong core and leaves you with a  message concluding in a happy ending.

THE ROOM WITH THE MOUNTAIN VIEW BY LAUREN ST JOHN
The Room with the Mountain View is a mystery read that's packed full of adventure and a little reminiscent of the film Rear Window by Alfred Hitchcock (as is noted within the story itself).

SNOW BY MICHELLE MAGORIAN
The only poem with this anthology, Snow is definitely one of the pages that wraps you up in those warm winter fuzzies that I mentioned before.

THE SNOW DRAGON BY ABI ELPHINSTONE
On the eve of Christmas, Phoebe is the only child left in a not so nice orphanage, with a rather horrible lady in charge who does nothing but put Phoebe down and belittle her - seriously, this woman is vile! Locked in a dog kennel outside of the orphanage building itself, Phoebe is greeted by a snow dragon who is about to take his annual Christmas Eve flight, and Phoebe is welcomed along for the ride. This story is such a heart warming one and a wonderful ending to the collection as a whole.

There are a variety of themes, other than being centred around winter, running through the stories in Winter Magic and I loved that each story had its own personal message or moral portrayed to the reader. There really is something for everyone in this book - whether you're looking to time travel, play a leading role in the production of The Nutcracker, meet a Snow Queen, fly over land and sea on a Snow Dragon, or be transported back to the nostalgia of childhood and be full of wonder and curiosity as we all are as youngsters.

Winter Magic is one of those charming winter reads that I know I'll return to in the future... And one I also look forward to sharing with my son in a good few years.

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6 comments

  1. The cover of this book is so pretty! I’m loving anthologies right now, so I’ll have to look this one up.

    Aj @ Read All The Things!

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    1. I love the wintery scene on the book cover!

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  2. I love the cover of this one. Very nice. I like anthologies and ones centered around a season (especially winter) are very inviting. A Night at the Frost Fair and The Room With The Mountain View both sound good, and I'm sure there are a few other gems as well. I'll have to look for this one!

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    1. I love the cover too - such a beautiful winter scene and the little stars are a nice added touch.

      Anthologies around a given season are some of my favourite to read also; it really immerses you in the time of year.

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  3. I saw you rate this on Goodreads...and ordered it before even reading this review! I don't think it's been published in the US, but
    The Book Depository had it :) I probably won't get to read it til after Christmas, but it's still winter then! Reading the blurb, I immediately felt like this would be a great book to have in the family library to share with my son someday, and your review has just confirmed that. Thanks for sharing this -- I had never even heard of this one before :)

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    1. I don't think the book is published physically in the US - when I added my links I could only find it in Kindle edition for US, and Winter Magic is definitely the kind of book you want an actual copy of. It would agree with you; a great family library read - I'll be sharing with Alexander when older for sure!

      Even if you get it after Christmas, you'll still be enveloped in winter goodness. Truth be told, my copy was suppose to be a Christmas present from Nathan (my partner), but then we did a bit of a trade on early Christmas presents. Hehe!

      I hope you enjoy this collection of stories!

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