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November 2017 Award winner: Reader's Favorite


Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite

The Seventh Birthday Wish is a children’s picture book written by Bruce E. Arrington and illustrated by Florence Jayne. Wesley was incredibly excited about waking up that morning. He was finally seven years old, and the magic door would open for him at last. He had wondered what was on the other side of that door ever since it first appeared when he turned four. Now, he could see the handle; it was golden and, when he turned the knob, the door opened with a rush and a sound that seemed like a roar. His mom knew that Wesley would be having a special adventure, and she had his pillow and a packaged lunch all ready and waiting for him. And while she would have preferred that he sit and have some breakfast before his day began, she understood that her young man had an important day ahead of him. 

Bruce E. Arrington’s children’s picture book, The Seventh Birthday Wish, is a moving fantasy story about a small boy’s rite of passage as he turns seven, and one can’t help but get excited for him as he surveys the new and limitless world that awaits him. I especially liked the choices Arrington gives young Wesley, and the boy’s subsequent decision to interact freely with the wild and flying horses he discovers. Florence Jayne’s illustrations are marvelous! Each panel is brightly colored, and her use of watercolor washes gives dimension and vitality to the scenes she creates. The expressions on the faces of the flying horses are wonderful, and the open vistas that unroll before Wesley’s eyes are memorable indeed. This tale celebrates a child’s first rite of passage and illustrates most eloquently why force is never the solution, even when you really desire something. The Seventh Birthday Wish is most highly recommended.

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