Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Leon and the Place Between

ck Press
Angela McAllister; Illustrations by Grahame Baker Smith

Reading this book is like attending your very own carnival and magic show, minus the crowd and dirty fairgrounds. Prepare to be completely swept away by the rich colors and enchanting illustrations.

Leon and his siblings have conflicting opinions about the magic show they are about to see. Tom and Pete are quick to announce that it will only be tricks not real magic, and Little Jo looks disappointed that her brothers might be speaking the truth. Leon shushes them, knowing there will be magic - you just have to believe.

The curtains slowly part and the show begins. After a group of wild jugglers and a swirl of mechanical toys, it is finally time for the main act. With a puff of purple smoke, Abdul Kazam takes center stage and Leon can practically smell the magic rolling off the magician in waves. When Abdul asks for a volunteer, Leon immediately knows it must be him. Without hesitation, he climbs straight into the magic box and falls deep into another world. Leon has discovered the Place Between.

The Place Between is where magic sends you. Everything that disappears by magic appears here, waiting to be called back. Leon watches as magicians' assistants appear and disappear, as well as scarves, coins and rings. Doves and cards flutter about and gold stars swirl everywhere. This is an amazing world, alive with magic. Just as he is settling in, Leon hears his name - he is being called back by the magician!

The illustrations, the colors and the fonts all lend themselves to a most magical experience for the reader. Pages practically glow in tones of deep plum and rich gold, with gleaming strains of stars swirling in the margins. The text is printed in a different sizes and fonts - they replicate a poster board or program. You could read this half a dozen times and never come close to seeing all the tiny background details that make this book so special. It is an amazing work of art and goes to show if you believe in magic, it does exist.


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