From School Library Journal
Grade 2–4—Ava Tree, whose parents died in an accident, lives with her 22-year-old brother. On her eighth birthday, she wakes up to find that she has "wishing power": she wishes that her pet rabbit would use the toilet like a person, and he does. Next, she wishes that her best friend's mom, who is overly concerned about proper behavior, would not "fix" her Backward Birthday Party. She learns that she can only make three wishes a day, that they only last for 24 hours, that by wishing for mean things to happen to other people she ends up hurting herself, and that some wishes don't come true. Despite her multiple attempts, her parents do not come back to life. Character development is slight, though Ava does get a little further along in her grieving process. The ending suggests that her wishing power comes from her mother, so this is not a strictly realistic tale, but readers will relate to it. Some of the illustrations are oddly proportioned and don't add much, but the text is large and the line spacing generous. An additional choice for readers who are ready for longer chapter books.—Laura Stanfield, Campbell County Public Library, Ft. Thomas, KY
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The author of the Pony Pals series reaches out to a younger audience with this fantasy story. Ava discovers on the morning of her eighth birthday that she has the power to make her wishes come true when her pet rabbit, Tibbar, surprisingly knows how to use the toilet. Ava’s parents died in a car accident two years before, and since then she has lived with her adult brother, Jack, who is helping her prepare for her birthday party, where everything will be backwards. Ava’s best friend, Priscilla Purhfect, is not allowed to come because her mother thinks a backwards party is improper. But, thanks to Ava’s wishing power, Mother Purhfect changes her mind. Soon Ava realizes that she only has three wishes per day, and although her wishing power cannot bring her parents back, ultimately her new skill helps her cope with the loss. Dominguez’s appealing black-and-white drawings support the fairy-tale mood of the story. This light, sweet tale will attract newly independent girl readers in particular. Grades 2-4. --Monika Schroder