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Magical and mysterious reads

CHILDREN’S BOOKS | Four new releases reviewed

Magical and mysterious reads
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The Restorationists: Beneath the Swirling Sky

Carolyn Leiloglou
(WaterBrook 2023)

Although Vincent, 12, wants nothing to do with art after an embarrassing moment at school, he finds himself forced into it—quite ­literally—when his ­sister, Lili, disappears into a famous painting. Vincent’s cousin Georgia reveals that this “traveling” ability runs in their family—something Vincent’s parents never told him. Their family is the last of the “Restorationists,” a secret society called to protect art from the evil forces that have taken Lili. But as Jesus cautions in Luke, to whom much is given, much is required, and Vincent’s not sure he’s up for the challenge. Gospel metaphors woven adventurously through real-life paintings offer an art lesson (or 10) for Christian parents and teachers to build upon. Ages 8-12

The Red Door

Rachel Lulich
(Bandersnatch 2023)

A lone red door stands in the middle of Hargrove Settlement. Bleachers and bleak concrete buildings surround it, as do the townspeople when gathering to witness the banishment of a “dreamer.” Where the door leads, only the banished dreamers know for sure, but they never return to tell of it. Aster Temple sure doesn’t want to find out. The 12-year-old hides her own dreamer status by keeping her head down and her father and best friend at arm’s length, until excruciating dreams begin to overtake her (as well as the nondreaming people of Hargrove). Soon Aster discovers that she’s the only one who can stop this evil force, but it will mean laying down her life for an undeserving people. Ages 8-15

Redemption Tales: The Shadow and the Promise

Marty Machowski
(New Growth Press 2024)

This first book in a planned series retells familiar Old Testament stories from the perspective of animals that could have witnessed how things unfolded from the Fall up to the Exodus. Each of the seven chapters features standalone stories about different animal characters, but in every story Daniel the dove arrives to help the animals understand what is happening in light of the bigger gospel story that points to Christ. While children could read the book on their own, they will likely gain greater benefit if parents read along with them (or out loud) and together use the study guide to explore the suggested Scriptures and ponder the discussion questions, which include a helpful answer key as well. Ages 6-12 —Kristin Chapman


Kate DiCamillo
(Candlewick 2024)

Wide-eyed Ferris Wilkey has a unique way of looking at the world, and what she sees the summer before her fifth grade year is almost too much to process: A needy ghost won’t let her sick grandmother be, her little ­sister’s an outlaw, Dad’s chasing raccoons in the attic, and her wannabe­-artsy uncle is holed up in her basement—much to her mother’s chagrin. With humor and heart, author Kate DiCamillo helps Ferris find her place in this colorful world while depicting life’s loves and longings and poignantly spotlighting the gift of family (imperfect ones notwithstanding). Ferris offers laughs, ­likable characters, a heartwarming grandmother-granddaughter relationship, and a ­better appreciation of life’s big little moments. Ages 8-12

Whitney Williams

Whitney works on WORLD’s development team and has spent more than a decade with the organization in various roles. She earned a journalism degree from Baylor University and resides in Texas with her husband and three sons.


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