I’m sure you have all read reviews that claim a book’s characters truly ‘come to life before your eyes’, well, I can say that literally happens in this book! “Sasha and the Magic Pen” is an illustrated children’s book written by Saragine Francois and illustrated by Javier Duarte. Although “Sasha and the Magic Pen” is published by Mirror Publishing (the same publisher that released my book “Ode to Icky“), I can promise you that the following review is completely honest and true to my opinion.
Before I go into specifics about the book, I wanted to first say that the main characters’ names (Sasha and Malia) had me thinking about President Obama’s daughters the whole time I read the book. I don’t know if the author purposefully gave the girls in the story the same name as our President’s kids, but the illustrations kind of cemented the idea in my head, because I thought they kind of looked like Sasha and Malia Obama.
Now on to the actual story. The plot of “Sasha and the Magic Pen” is as follows: Sasha is a ten-year-old girl who feels like she doesn’t have any ‘real’ friends. She makes a wish to find a friend to play with and then later finds a magic pen on her school playground. While she is working on a school project, she traces a picture of a book character named Ursa and finds that when she blows on the picture, Ursa actually comes to life! Soon Sasha and her older sister Malia have brought Ursa’s dog to life as well. After that, mayhem ensues as the girls try to hide their new friends and find a way to return them to their storybook before it is too late.
Personally, I really liked this book. I found the premise imaginative and could easily relate to all of the characters. I like how the emphasis is on friendship and the importance of stories. Even though Ursa and her dog decide they don’t want to return to their storybook life, the other characters work to convince her that if she doesn’t return that no one will get to read the story again, which would be a real tragedy. It made me think about how important fictional characters can be, especially to children.
The story is entertaining as well. There are plenty of humor, mystery and fantasy elements available to keep even the most reluctant readers engaged. Technically “Sasha and the Magic Pen” is recommended for ages 8 & up, but I personally think that younger children would enjoy the story as well, they just might need help reading it if they aren’t reading independently yet. The story is longer than your average picture book, but still lends itself well to reading aloud, you just might have to split it into several readings.
Overall, I would definitely recommend this book to children ages 6-12. Girls would probably be more likely to give it a try, but I think boys would enjoy it as well if they could get past the fact that the main characters are girls. If you would like to find out more about this book, its author or order a copy for your child, please visit the author’s website, http://www.saragine.com/index.php.