Black cats and magic for early readers? Midnight Magic by Michelle Harrison and Elissa Elwick is the PERFECT book for any little one with the call of wonder in their soul.
Midnight Magic is such a joyful and positive depiction of magic and wonder with a twinkling dose of mischief to keep the giggles.
I missed on posting this last year in the time of wobbles, but I thought I would spotlight it now as I am excited to see the next in this series with its glorious witchiness, three colour printing process of full illustration (purple 💜) and story in verse which makes Midnight Magic a unique and brilliant book and hopefully it’s sequel Mirror Mischief in its absinthe fairy green!
Did you know Black cats born at Midnight are extra special?
They have Magic….but… one little kitten born at midnight is a bundle of mischief too and causes all sorts of trouble until a little girl Trixie takes her into her home… and Midnight unleashes a magical kind of mayhem that brings the family together.
I’m a huge fan of Michelle Harrison’s writing, her ability to embed the magical and mystical into exciting and enthralling children’s literature is just sublime and I was so excited to see that she had turned her hand to younger audiences with an early chapter book and with a witchy focus? Brilliant.
Furthermore pairing with Elissa Elwick who has illustrated some beloved books of ours including The Princess and the Sleepstealer and Stick and Fetch in collaboration with Phillip Ardargh is just a beautiful combination. Her wide eyed characters are bubbling with enthusiasm and her ability to capture mischief twinkling in eyes alongside childhood innocence makes her illustrations simply perfect for this project.
This story is in written in verse which is powerful on many levels, accessible for those just moving on from picture books but with the comfort of three colour process print and rhyme before paragraphs and black and white.
But it’s also great for older children too, whether it be the comfort of those rhythms that may have sent them to sleep when little or the poetry factor which is brilliant for encouraging rhyme and poem structure or for children to write their own stories in verse asking for careful and creative thinking and developing vocabulary.
I’m a huge fan of the choice to include a fun Nanna, and a multigenerational setting to boot is a gorgeous touch, especially for families like ours. The inclusion of a fun older character who embraces magic and mischief is a beautiful touch indeed, Nanna reminded me of the poem Warning by Jenny Joseph you know the one ‘When I am an old woman I shall wear purple’ and this series will lead readers beautifully into Hubble Bubble books by Tracey Corderoy and Joe Berger and the Bad Nana books by Sophie Henn.
I was also pleased to see this a positive book about black cats and from a human of black cats herself Michelle! The sad truth about Black Cats is that like Midnight they are often abandoned and are shown to take the longest to be adopted if at all, in the past largely due to superstitious prejudice, but recently for more vacuous reasons of lower Instagrammability than their more pale coated cousins. I hope that books like this that focus on the wonder and joy of black cats that in the future they are treated with more positivity. I have always said if we were allowed cats (eyes pleadingly at three other adults in the house) , there would be no other choice but black.
I’m a massive fan of Michelle’s writing, aesthetic and voice and I’m delighted to see that this is trickling down through the ages to young children too and especially with the gloriously sweet companion of Elissa’s art.
We need more good witch books especially at the youngest ages and Michelle is a Queen of Magical writing so I’m pleased as punch to see this.
Midnight Magic by Michelle Harrison and Elissa Elwick is published by Little Tiger
Thank you so much for my copy.