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Sasha and the Magic Pen Paperback – August 15, 2011
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Reviewed by Jean Hall for Readers' Favorite - Here in the pages of Sasha and the Magic Pen, friends come to life. Author Saragine Francois tells a story about dreams that are fulfilled. Javier Duarte illustrates the girl's family and school life in subtle black and white. Sasha is by her own description a "nerdy" girl. She wants to fit in and have true friends. Sasha has a sister named Malia so there are parallels to the real-life Obama family in the White House. But the parallels are in name only and the characters have their own story to tell. A charming flight of fancy.
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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.
Well, one day as Sasha is feeling lonely and blue in the schoolyard, she sees something shiny in the dirt. She picks it up after cleaning off the dirt and sees that it is a pen. A couple of days later as she is busy tracing the characters in "Friends" her pencil breaks so she uses the pen. As she is busy tracing it, she notices that the page is suddenly separating and in a matter of seconds, Ursa, the character out of the book is standing in front of her. She is astonished beyond belief but... she goes ahead and traces the dog, Bo. Same thing happens...
A little while later, Malia, discovers the three of them and the girls find a way to keep the two book characters hidden from the girl's mother.. and for the rest of the story be sure that you pick up your own copy of Sasha and the Magic Pen.. to find out all about the mayhem, adventure, mishaps, and final outcome of the storybook friends that came alive through Sasha and the Magic Pen.
Wonderfully illustrated and brilliantly told. Sasha and the Magic Pen
On her way to school the next day, Sasha came across a shining object in the playground which turned out to be a pen. She picked the pen off the ground, and placed it in her pocket. While working on her assignment, Sasha decided to use the pen she found to trace her favorite character, Ursa. While erasing a mistake she made, she notices the image was moving and lifting itself from the paper. Standing in front of her was Ursa from the story book.
Now Sasha has to explain not only to her sister about the magic pen, who did not believe her at first, but to her mother.
What an interesting book! I enjoyed reading every page. I couldn't wait to find out what happened next. I wish Javier Duarte's illustration was in color instead of black and white. Overall, a fun and delightful book. I also love Sasha meaning of friends on page 55. I recommend this book for children ages 6-8. A MUST READ!
Disclaimer: As per FTC guidelines, I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for my honest review. I received no monetary compensation. All opinions expressed here are mine and mine alone.