Magnolia Moon makes me wish I was 9 again simply because I’d love to call her my best friend. She is a delightful, quirky character with a unique outlook on life. Curiosity, wonder and a blissful imagination inform her world view, and she is a loyal and caring friend.
Edwina Wyatt has written some beautiful picture books (Together Always is a particular treasure), and this is her first foray into junior fiction. Hopefully it won’t be her last. The secrets of Magnolia Moon evokes a nostalgic, whimsical mood, achieved by Wyatt’s lyrical and playful writing style. The language itself is beautiful – imagery and metaphors abound, but it is the structure which gives it an ‘old-world’ feel. The overall narrative arc is the simple 12 month snapshot of Magnolia’s life, rather than a typical arc of rising tension throughout. Instead, Magnolia’s story is told in a series of vignettes, each focusing on a key event in her life, and each involving a secret of some kind. In this regard, it resembles a short story collection, with the 12 month thread neatly tying them all together.
The secrets of Magnolia Moon is a perfect choice for a class read-aloud – perfect in terms of length, humour, ethical dilemmas, whimsy, particular interests… there’s something for everyone.
However, for classes wishing to explore it in more detail, there is still plenty to unpack.
Social and emotional learning: