Grandma's Magic Box
by Nadine Thomas

"GOLD RUSH!!...Well sir, we don't actually know how we got here..."

Some say that travel is the best teacher. But, for those who cannot, or do not have the opportunity to do so, perhaps there is another way. The magic box that Ryan receives as a gift from his grandmother takes him and teaches him all around the world, from Alaska to India and beyond. Each chapter is an adventure in itself. When Ryan, a first-grader, falls asleep on some nights, he is magically transformed by this glowing box to curious settings where he learns about the geography, history, and culture of many lands. What an adventure and education he receives!

Japan, New Orleans, Israel, and Egypt are a few of the destinations that the box transports young Ryan to. In each dreamy episode, Ryan meets someone that shows him around and treats him kindly. Maybe the best part of the story is that children learn that there are friendly people everywhere, even in places where the national news focuses mainly on rioting in the streets or other turmoil.

Thomas fills her short chapter book—which is likely intended for children of her main character’s age—with excitement and mystery. Because the book has words describing places with big names and cultural sites, it is possibly better suited to be read aloud to young readers or, at least, along with an adult.The author's book does an excellent job of opening young minds to the world and all the treasures it holds. The illustrations are colorful and lively. Young children will definitely want to see the world after reading about it and seeing the pictures. If planting the seeds of adventure and curiosity are among your goals for young children, read this book to them. Neither the children nor the reader will be disappointed.

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