cover image Magic Candies

Magic Candies

Heena Baek, trans. from the Korean by Sophie Bowman. Amazon Crossing Kids, $17.99 (48p) ISBN 978-1-5420-2959-9

This poignantly told fantasy stars Tong Tong, a lonely child who, looking for new marbles in a shop, buys a small bag of hard candies that offer magical hearing powers. The first hard orb, which matches the pattern of the family sofa, lets loose the sofa’s voice, allowing Tong Tong to find a lost remote. (The sofa also puts forth a request: “Tell your dad to give the farting a rest.”) When Tong Tong’s father arrives home, the dad’s endless admonitions fill an entire page with closely printed words—translator Bowman handles these with skill—but another candy lets Tong Tong hear the love behind them. Still another reveals the voice of the child’s departed grandmother (“Don’t worry about me. I’m having so much fun here”). Show-stopping spreads by Baek, similar to art by Red Nose Studio, feature molded, emotive figures in meticulously constructed scenery with miniature furniture, photographed under dramatic lighting—an effect startlingly close to animation. It’s a fully realized world that considers discerning meaning and making friends, while offering artwork that lingers in the memory. Ages 4–8. Agent: Isabel Atherton, Creative Authors Limited. (Sept.)