Magical Matthew by Penelope Anne Cole, Illustrations by Kevin Collier*Picture book, fantasy, preschool to third graders
*Young boy as main character
*Rating: Magical Matthew is a sweet story for children about magic and friendship. Kevin Collier’s illustrations make this book fun for children to read on their own or for their parents/teachers to read to them, too. My two-year-old loves flipping through it.
Short, short summary: Matthew is a young boy who realizes he has a magical power to fix THINGS. He doesn’t tell the adults in his life because he knows they really don’t believe in magic anymore. He is even scared to tell his friend Lily, who is in a wheelchair, because he doesn’t know if she’ll understand. Matthew tries to “fix” Lily, but he soon realizes he only has the power to fix nonliving things. But that doesn’t bother sweet and wonderful Lily, who soon discovers by the powers of observation, that things just seem to work better when Matthew is around. Throughout the story, Matthew winds up confiding in two people ,and then he also gets older. What happens to his magic when he is no longer “young”? How do the people around him react to the news that he has magic powers? Is anyone else in his family “magical”? Find out by reading this sweet book about friendship, family, and magic!
So, what do you do with this book?
1. If children had a magical power to fix THINGS, what THINGS would they fix? Would it be something at their house? At school? In the world? For younger students, start with, “If I could fix something, I would fix ____________________.” They fill in the blank and draw a picture. Older students can write a paragraph or even their own story and illustrate it.
2. In the story, Lily and Matthew are friends. Matthew is such a wonderful friend, and so is Lily. They both have something that makes them unique and also that they worry makes them different–Lily is in a wheelchair and Matthew has a magic power. Discuss with students/children how each one of us has things that are different about us and that makes us unique. That’s what makes the world go around. Ask students to name something that is unique about them. Ask children if they worry about being different. Have a CELEBRATE OUR DIFFERENCE DAYS and read Magical Matthew as part of your celebration. It is our job as parents and educators to help children see that our differences–no matter if they are magic powers or a physical attribute–help make us special–not strange or weird!
3. Penelope Anne Cole, the author, has some coloring sheets on her blog, and she also has some education resources and ideas. To find out more, go to her website: http://magical-matthew.blogspot.com/