Score: 94/100 (9.4 out of 10)
WOW! We were not expecting a children's book of this complexity and beauty to come our way and are pleasantly surprised! Everything is Everything: Finding Your Magic covers topics that are familiar (self-fulfillment and contentedness), but does so with a really unique angle that we don't think we've seen yet.
Ultimately, from what we gather, this book is about finding happiness and joy within yourself, being yourself, being true to yourself, and doing the things that you love doing—even if that means spending time in nature, playing video games, skateboarding, or pursuing an unpaid hobby like chess or knitting. Many of these activities seem like “wastes” of time, but let's not forget that life isn't all about the work we do and the things we accomplish, it's about enjoying the time we have on this earth and with each other. How many things and special events have you put off because you had work or something presumably more important to do? How many times have you determined that you had a bad day because you didn't accomplish as much as you'd planned or hoped to? These are real things that people really feel.
A lot of times, our sense of self-worth is exclusively tied to how much we've done and accomplished—how many “wins” we have in our day. How much time do we spend appreciating what we already have? Appreciating who we are? Appreciating the person God made us and the gifts he has already given us?
Think about those gifts. You have things like food, air, water, shelter, friends, family, pets, a seemingly infinite world and nature to explore and discover.
This book invites young readers (and possibly even adults) to stop and smell the roses. Slow down and appreciate things in all their glory.
There are really two words that stand out in this book: NO & STOP. If you weren't given context to them, you might assume this book was about something else entirely, mainly personal boundaries and stranger danger. It's not about those things at all. NO & STOP are used to encourage young people to know that they can choose to not have to do anything or be anything they don't want to. People are free to say “I feel like playing today” or “I feel like picking flowers today.”
Now, you could potentially see this could be problematic when a kid gets the message that they don't have to do their chores or homework if they don't want to. We're assuming that's not what the author was advocating for at all, but it's possible children might misinterpret this. So, the message gets at least a little bit muddled by complexity.
The book is a bit wordy, but not unmanageably so. It does meander a bit. There are a few slight grammatical mistakes like misspellings and words being capitalized that don't need to be (like seasons). There are informalities like multiple exclamation marks being used.
With that aside, this book is gorgeous and very cute!
The art is extraordinary and exactly the quality it needs to be for a children's book. Every single page is bright and colorful. And one of the other great things we noticed about the art is that the facial expressions are spot-on. Emotions such as surprise and wonder are very well put across.
Sally is a solid and compelling main protagonist, a cute, curious, and charismatic girl with a good heart. She is joined by her adorable pet dog, Pup. Thank goodness his name is Pup. In the past, we'd had problems with authors naming pets elaborate names in homage to people in their lives, and it became difficult to follow, especially when there was more than one pet. Pup's feelings and emotions are also well-portrayed in both the art and the writing. For instance, you know that he's curious or excited when he wags his tail.
Another stand-out character is Crystal-Claire, a fairy who helps Sally to come to grips with the feelings she's feeling.
And what feelings are those? Well, that's encapsulated by this haunting line when asked about the “Voice” of self-doubt she hears:
“Mostly it tells me to stop, especially if I am not doing
anything which could be called productive. It keeps me in
line, it’s like being told to stay in the lines when coloring in
a coloring book. Use the right colors, don’t be messy, don’t
do anything weird or frivalous [sic]. It makes me feel unimportant
and worthless, as if I was not enough just being me, that I am
valued only by what I do not by who I am.
Do you understand me, Crystal-Claire?”
This is a very powerful piece of dialogue. It's tragic to think that this is the way that many kids and many people feel when they make mistakes or think they're not “good enough.”
The book sends the powerful message that YOU are ENOUGH.
Check it out on Amazon!