In the beginning of this year I reviewed the new Mega Mash-Ups series by Nikalas Catlow and Tim Wesson. I also was fortunate enough to kid-test it. The minute those books entered the house, my second grader son grabbed them and spend the most time sitting in one place with a pencil in his hand I have ever witnessed. However, being a boy, filling these interactive doodle/write your own story books in pencil was the extent of his efforts. I stood by and uttered my usual response to his drawing endeavors, "I love it so much and I would love it even more if you COLORED it." In light of this, I can't tell you how excited I am by the sister series to Mega Mash-Ups, Magical Mix-Ups! I know that this is a book that will get the full color treatment without maternal whining. And, it will keep kids on vacation busy for hours at a time...
As with the Mega Mash-Ups series, which is co-reated by Nikalas Catlow who is also the creator of several doodle books, the creators of Magical Mix-Ups also have a great background. Co-creator Leigh Hodgkinson, who's excellent website is called Wonky Button, is the author and illustrator of the charming picture book Goldilocks and Just One Bear, among many others, proving she has the credentials to make this already fantastic idea for a book series superlative.
As with the Mega Mash-Ups series, each book brings together two (wildly disparate in the case of Mega Mash-Ups) protagonists to get the story started. And, like Mega Mash-Ups, there is a page introducing the characters and a page with tips of filling in the blanks parts. In this case, there are ideas for drawing tools as well as decorating tools with ideas like glitter, sequins, tinfoil and candy wrappers to jazz up the illustrations.
In Magical Mix-Ups: Birthdays and Bridesmaids, Emerald the Witch and Princess Sapphire live in the land of Mixtopia. They get invited to the wedding of Princess Sneezebelle and Prince Peasebottom at the court of the Fairyland. The friends get to pick out their dresses for the wedding (with the help of the reader, who gets to design them) and solve a mystery when the wedding rings go missing. There is the chance to decorate cupcakes and the chance to unravel a clue in the form of letters iced on top of a box of cupcakes as well. The reader/artist gets to decide if Emerald lives in a messy or clean house and she gets to add dialogue to the story as well. This series really, truly is interactive with the reader writing ad illustrating the book.
Book 2 in the Magical Mix-Ups series, Friends and Fashion, comes out next month, and book three, Pets and Parties, in 2013.
Visit the Mega Mash-Ups website for some cool stuff and look for all six of the books!