READ ISLAND

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After dawn, a nameless child with olive skin, brown eyes, and long, wavy brown hair sets sail to an island composed of books. There, a sea wolf announces that it’s safe for all the other animals to come out, including grizzly bears, eagles, whales, elk, foxes, and salmon. They gather for a reading by a fox who encourages them to “Breathe in. Breathe out. Listen well.” The tale, told in short, rhyming proverbs from a poetic second-person perspective, is immersive. However, some readers may wish for a more well-defined plot. After the many vivid animal descriptions (“An eagle lands, a humpback waves”), not much happens on Read Island—but perhaps that’s Magistro’s point. Feagan’s winning, joyful illustrations, which use pleasing, delicate color palettes, make up for the lack of a strong storyline. One of the images—a fantastical, dynamic rainbow, featuring mermaids, gryphons, astronauts, and dragons—effectively captures the feeling of reading something really special for the first time. In the end, Magistro clarifies her point about the safe space that reading creates: “This world of stories, safe and true, / Is always here to welcome you.”

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