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Nina Waldman
Niah's Magic
Nina Waldman, author
Niah is a little girl who dreams big. Every night she dreams about the same magical place where she plays with her best friend, Mayson, and her unicorn, Squigs. In her dream she meets her fairy godmother who gives her a magical treehouse and some magic fairy dust. Each day Niah is eager to return to her dream until one night, she discovers Mayson is missing. It takes Niah's love, Squig's help, and the magic fairy dust to bring Mayson back to the magic treehouse. Niah's Magic is a brightly illustrated book about the power of friendship and love. Author Nina Waldman made up this story for her daughter and realized the power of the story when she told it to her when Niah was very ill. Niah heard the story and immediately improved. Nina wants to share this love and magic with all her readers.
Wishing to spend more time with friends and animals, young Niah dreams of a colorful magical land “where animals roamed free” and “every flower imaginable grew.” There she meets her fairy godmother, who gives her a rainbow-staired treehouse and a bag of fairy dust, and new friend Mayson, another young girl who shares Niah’s enthusiasm for dance, song, and butterflies. But one day, after months of spending time together in this dream land, Mayson doesn’t appear, leading Niah on a journey to discover not only the whereabouts of her friend but also the magic of friendship. Inspired by her own daughter’s experience with the power of story, Waldman’s debut is a vividly colored heartfelt and whimsical ode to love and magic.

Full of heart and positivity, this is an uplifting and enchanting book about the power of friendship set in a dream world that’s sure to delight anyone looking to add a bit of magic to their own life– there’s plenty in the striking illustrations from Marion Strunck. Still, while the book centers on friendship, most of the bonding between Niah and Mayson happens in text descriptions on a couple pages, which diminishes the impact of Niah’s absence, since readers don’t actually see the friendship in action all that much, outside of a charming illustration of the two girls astride Niah’s unicorn, Squigs. (The marvelous Squigs exemplifies Strunck's skill at designing characters.)

Nonetheless, the combination of the vibrant colors and characters, including animals and diverse young girls, the playful font choice (though the denser passages sometimes demand some squinting), and an earnest message makes Niah’s Magic an engaging read, especially for those looking for a reminder of the simple magic all around us. Niah’s vividly rendered dream land is worth returning to over and over again for a chance to see the beaming, pink-winged Squigs and the delightful treehouse that has four entrances.

Takeaway: This colorful, whimsical adventure about the power of friendship will enchant young and old readers.

Great for fans of: Roisin Swales’s Big Hid, Samantha Berger’s What If….

Production grades
Cover: A-
Design and typography: B
Illustrations: A
Editing: A
Marketing copy: A-