Published by Bloomsbury, 2019.
Manju’s Magic Wishes is one of the books in the Bloomsbury Young Readers series. It’s a fresh and appealing reading scheme with a great range of titles. On the inside covers there are reading strategy tips for grown ups supporting young readers, and also some suggestions for fun follow-up activities.
It’s Manju’s mom’s birthday but she hasn’t yet got her a present so she enlists the help of Cumin, her astute pet cat and sidekick. Together they find a magic lamp in grandma’s room. Manju summons a larger-than-life purple genie who grants her not three but seven wishes. Manju tries to use them to find the perfect birthday gift but everything backfires and soon there’s chaos. Will she ever get her mom the right kind of birthday surprise?
I think newly confident readers will love Manju’s Magic Wishes; they will relish the chance to read a proper chapter book, but it won’t be too daunting because the chapters are short, fully illustrated and written in a clear and well-sized font. There’s lots of humour as Manju unintentionally wastes wishes amid the mayhem. The cheerful, brightly coloured illustrations are full of fun and plenty of action.
The book focuses around a family of BAME characters; Manju and her mom are Indian. I really enjoyed the references to Indian culture: the food, the language and the clothing. Representation like this is so important in children’s books; all children need to see themselves in the books they read.
Manju’s Magic Wishes is a fun, accessible and engaging read.
Suitable for children aged 5+
I originally reviewed this book for the LoveReading4Schools website. Thank you to LoveReading and Bloomsbury for sending me this book to review.