Sunday, 1 September 2019

Storybook Corner Book Review: Arabella and the Magic Pencil (Children's Picture Book) +related craft

Arabella and the Magic Pencil
Stephanie Ward
Illustrated by Shaney Hyde

Publisher: EK Books 
Publication date: 1st September 2019
Pages: 32
RRP: $24.99 AUD
Format read: Hardcover
Source: Courtesy of the publisher

Arabella is a very happy only child living a perfectly pleasant life.
Until she gets a baby brother who utterly upsets everything!
So Arabella erases Avery with her magic pencil. Problem solved.
She's sure her life will go back to being perfect now....wont it?

A fun-filled look at sibling rivalry and creative problem-solving!

“There once was a girl named Arabella”

We loved how the story started like a fairytale. A simple statement that sets the scene!

Arabella was the only child of the Duke and Duchess. She was granted a royal wish every year.
Arabella’s wishes were for fanciful things, wishes a child could relate to; a pink dog (that gave Dot a giggle). Dot’s wish was a real live unicorn.

Arabella didn’t wish for a little brother but that’s what she got. She loved Avery but he made lots of noise and ruined all her games until one day Arabella got so annoyed she made him disappear.
But life was too quiet, too calm and Arabella was sad. How can she get Avery back?

Anyone who has ever been a sibling probably knows what it feels like to wish that their irritating brother or sister would just vanish for a little while.

I remember when Ditto first arrived on the scene Dot was not at all impressed and even drew family pictures without him in it. Luckily our young memories are short and she doesn’t remember ever not wanting her little brother around.

Stephanie Ward has produced a story that will never age. Sibling rivalry will be with us as long as little brothers and sisters keep arriving to change the family dynamics.

Arabella and the Magic Pencil is a charming story filled with magic and wonder to enhance a child’s imagination. The story includes words to extend the child’s vocabulary and Dot was quick to ask the meaning of ‘mayhem' and ‘acoustics’.  Alliteration is used at times to give a fun rhythm to the story; Dainty dolls dined, Pretty princesses paraded.

The watercolour illustrations are a feast for the eyes. Shaney Hyde has given the story extra meaning through little touches in her illustrations. A royal bird (wearing a crown) can be found on each double spread, Arabella in her tent, headphones on, listening to music, Avery’s little blue dinosaur makes quite a few appearances, dragonflies, ladybugs, singing flowers all displayed in beautiful pastel colours until Avery disappears. The colour also disappears leaving Arabella and her surroundings in a sepia tone.

Arabella and the Magic Pencil is a wondrous picture book, not only for a young girl or boy who has had a new sibling enter their world but for any girl or boy who is enthralled by magic and imagination.

Dot had a lot of fun colouring and playing with the Arabella and Avery paper dolls.


Visit Stephanie’s website to download the paper doll activity sheet and colouring pages.

End note: Ditto stomped around the room making dinosaur noises while we read the book. (little bothers 🤣🤣)

Rated by Dot 5/5
About the author:

Photo credit: Goodreads
Stephanie Ward is an award-winning children's author and reviewer who splits her time between London, Seattle and Sydney. She spent 15 years in public relations before deciding to dedicate herself to what she loves - writing stories for children. Stephanie has five award-winning picture book manuscripts.

You can connect with the author at the following sites:
Website  ||  Twitter  ||  Goodreads  ||  Facebook  ||  Instagram 
 About the illustrator:
Photo credit: EKBooks
Shaney Hyde is an Early Childhood Teacher from Melbourne who runs art workshops for children and draws inspiration from her own playful childhood. Arabella and the Magic Pencil is the first book she has illustrated, fulfilling a long-held dream. 



  1. Thanks for the lovely review, Veronica! I'm so glad Dot and Ditto enjoyed the story and the paper dolls!