Score: 90/100 (9.0 out of 10)
“Magellan the Magical” by Krystal M. Harris isn't your typical children's book. It is complex, deep, and heartfelt. This is an example of a book that is so much more than meets the naked eye. You initially think that this is going to be just some ole' story about a little boy and his cute husky dog, but it's actually a story about a boy with a complex set of issues and a rough upbringing coping with these problems in a therapeutic way.
Our main protagonist, Kodi, is a very creative and bright child whose life is marred by bullying and an absence of true friends. For these reasons, he becomes increasingly reclusive. As fate would have it, he comes into possession of a plush wolf named Magellan. Magellan becomes his close companion for most of the story, helping to give Kodi the courage and inspiration to hope, dream, and eventually step out of his comfort zone. Magellan helps to form a base of safety in Maslow's hierarchy of needs or of trust in Erikson's theory of psychosocial development, allowing Magellan to venture out and try things he wouldn't otherwise try, even reaching out to the bullies he fears so much.
This book is incredibly emotional. You really feel for Kodi and want the best for him. He's a really good kid living through a really rough patch. It's something that kids of all generations have gone through: bullying, browbeating, peer-pressure, and the like. Social media is only making those things worse as kids compare themselves to other kids who present an image of being “perfect” and having the “perfect” life and the “perfect” family. Of course, this is pretty much never genuine. The affects this has on the psyches of children and teenagers is incredible. We'll likely see all kinds of research come out by 2030 of adults whose lives were profoundly impacted by social media and cyberbullying in their younger years.
This book does a good job at inspiring and encouraging readers to think positively, have hopes and dreams, and to never give up. This book has one of the most beautiful yet bittersweet endings of any children's book when Kodi is all grown up and realizes that he brought many of his hopes and dreams to fruition through shear force of will. This is a tremendous example of self-actualization.
So, why isn't the rating of this book even higher? Well, we're comparing it directly to “Ronnie's Pool” by Lindsay Ann Fink, a book with a comparable presentation style that covers a similar topic with similar themes: overcoming obstacles and achieving goals by using creativity and positive thinking. Both books also have similar issues: they're quite long and very wordy for a children's book, with “Magellan the Magnificent” being the bigger culprit of this. However, the art in this book is arguably superior to the art in “Ronnie's Pool.” For those reasons, we're giving them identical ratings.
You can, presumably, read this book one chapter a day or two chapters a day to your child. For a 2nd or 3rd grade audience, this could be a good read. Perhaps they might even be able to relate to Kodi and his struggle. This is such a beautiful, uplifting book for children about escapism.
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