A boy is given a gift that allows him to see the hidden magic inside other people in the children’s picture book Great-Grandpa and the Magic Locket.
Jimmy isn’t thrilled to be going with his mother to visit his great-grandfather. Then, turning down Great-Grandpa’s driveway, their car seems to become a boat and the road turns to water, but Jimmy is the only one who sees it. Jimmy later notices that the house’s interior is full of grass and waterfalls. Soon, Great-Grandpa takes Jimmy aside and gives him a locket to remind him that “often our hearts see much more than our eyes do.”
The story is told in rhyming verse, a fun choice, although some rhymes are forced or awkward: “Then… WOOSH their car went and down down they were going/ Their tires turned to skis and their doors started oaring.”
Jimmy’s reluctance to visit an older relative is relatable, as he complains that Great-Grandpa’s “teeth are too yellow and his neck is all hairy!” After receiving the locket, Jimmy reassesses, but what seems a simple message—to appreciate the person inside—gets diluted by confusion about what’s causing things to happen and why.
Jimmy sees the road turn to water and the house’s transformed interior before the locket is introduced, so it’s unclear why reality has shifted. Is it the manifestation of Jimmy’s imagination or something else? And if Jimmy can see these things without the locket, is the locket necessary? Additionally, why does it take magic to see that Great-Grandpa isn’t so scary after all? Oddly, even when Jimmy appreciates Great-Grandpa, it seems due to the gift alone: None of Great-Grandpa’s worthy inner qualities are mentioned.
The art is bright, with lush, picturesque backgrounds, and serves the story well. A lack of consistency in font size and spacing is a minor distraction throughout.
Great-Grandpa and the Magic Locket has good intentions, but revision for clarity would help untangle its muddled message.
Also available as an ebook.