Thursday, February 24, 2011

REVIEW: The Magic Pencil by Karen Dabney

Date:                         2/24/11
Title:                          The Magic Pencil
Author:                     Karen Dabney
ISBN 10:                   Digital/E-book
ISBN 13:                  
Pages:                       Unknown (Kindle)
Publisher:                Dabbs & Company
Cover:                       Digital/E-book
Reviewer:                Yolanda M. Johnson-Bryant Literary Wonders!  
Rating:                      3 Stars

The Magic Pencil is a young adult title by Karen E. Dabney. The story is narrated by a smart kid by the name of Malcolm. Although, the story emphasizes Malcolm’s intelligence, the young lad tells his story using Ebonics.

In reading the narrative in Ebonics, I found it very hard to follow this story. What should have, could have been a very easy read, was somewhat complicated. It is my opinion that with Malcolm’s intelligence, he should have narrated the book in his normal English “speak” and used his Ebonics between the “parenthesis” so to make the story flow more smoothly.

It was not until the last chapter, or rather the epilogue that I understood the author’s reason for writing the book the way she did. It was a shame however, that I had to find out at the very end because I almost did not finish the story due to the narration.

With this aside, Malcolm is a smart kid and has dreams of making a difference when he grows up. Malcolm’s life changes when he and the new girl at school, Nia, hit it off. Malcolm knows Nia holds some magical power, but doesn’t realize the extent.

What I did like about the book was the message that Nia relayed to Malcolm and her other classmates at the end of the book. At the end of the book is also when I realized that Malcolm is actually telling his brother and others about a dream that he had. I feel had I known this perhaps in some way at the beginning of the book, I would have been able to swallow it better.

Although I am not a fan of switching “speak”, I, now, understand the author’s message or messages, as there was more than one. I also understand that in life, everyone will not agree with you in everything and this is no different. I am however, curious to see what the author will come up with next.

There are very few books for children of color that aren’t riddled with, drugs, sex, money and rappers, so it is for that reason I commend Ms. Dabney for writing this book. 

1 comment:

  1. Dear Ms. Johnson-Bryant,
    I am concerned that you did not retain the most important part in the Prologue where Malcolm is telling his brother and friend about a DREAM he had the previous night. It is integral to the story.
    Although the book was not entirely written in standard English, so are many books past and present. I wonder if your dislike of code-switching prevented you from giving the book an in-depth approach. The manners of speaking are clearly discussed by Malcolm in Chapters One and Three.
    Perhaps I am wrong but I would expect a reviewer to look a book over and to at least skim the Author's Note if there is one.
    Never-the-less, I appreciate your taking the time to review The magic Pencil.