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Ella May and the Wishing Stone

by Cary Fagan; Geneviève Côté, illus.

After a morning at the beach, young Ella May returns home with a new treasure: a special stone with a ring that goes “all-all-all the way around it.” She decides it’s a wishing stone, and sets about making wishes and showing it off to her neighbourhood friends.

When the friends ask for a piece of the action, Ella May refuses: after all, she found the stone. In the end, though, it’s no fun wishing all by yourself, and Ella May soon finds a way to include her friends – using a healthy dose of imagination, of course.

Cary Fagan is no newcomer to kids’ books, and he does a great job here with both the fun, engaging story, and the fine tricks of repetition and structure that make Ella May and the Wishing Stone ideal for the early reader. Geneviève Côté’s watercolour illustrations are lively and simple, focusing on the kids themselves and hewing closely to the narrative. While not exactly vintage in design, the visuals are reminiscent of kids’ book illustration from the late 1950s and early ’60s.

The net result is an original and imaginative treatment of one of the hardest lessons of early childhood – sharing – in a colourful package that’s likely to charm kids and adults alike.