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“The gnome must have a Wish Shade in it. Wish Shades work on people’s worst feelings, getting them to make wishes and then bringing them about in horrible ways,” Bracken. –Wish Trap
Star Friends #2
by Linda Chapman
Do you believe in magic? Violet and her friends do! And when they meet the Star Animals, a whole world of magical adventures unfold in this new chapter book series featuring black and white illustrations throughout.
Violet and her star animal, a wildcat named Sorrel, must use their special powers to stop the forces of dark magic. But when a run of bad luck hits the local gym team, the Star Friends suspect that dark magic is behind it. Are their Star Magic skills strong enough to hold back the dark magic?
Unlike the first book in the series, Mirror Magic, Wish Trap has a scarier tone. When girls on the gymnastic team start getting injured, the Star Friends discover that a Shade tricked Paige, a girl who didn’t make it onto the gymnastics team, into making a wish. The Shade, who is trapped inside a garden gnome, starts hurting the girls on the gymnastic team. In a multichapter conclusion, the Star Friends try to capture the Shade after it locks two girls in a burning shed. No adults come to help the children escape the locked shed. Unrealistically, the Shade is defeated, and everyone is safe, but the Shade’s vicious behavior gives the story a dark tone that may leave readers with nightmares.
The Star Friends Series is a chapter book series that focuses on four friends—Mia, Lexi, Sita, and Violet—who are illustrated with different skin tones. The cute, black and white illustrations appear every two to seven pages. Even though Wish Trap will appeal to readers who are six and older, younger readers may have a difficult time with the more advanced vocabulary and the descriptions of dark magic.
While Mirror Magic focused on the girls meeting their Star Animal and learning about magic, Wish Trap focuses more on the friends, especially the tension between Mia and Violet. The animals rarely appear, but they are still instrumental in defeating the Shade. Readers will relate to the girls, who use their magic for good. Another positive aspect of Wish Trap is that it highlights the dangers of jealousy. Readers who love animals but want to avoid reading about dark magic should check out the Pet Rescue Adventures Series by Holly Webb and the Zoey and Sassafras Series by Asia Citro.
- A Shade is causing girls on the gymnastics’ team to have accidents and hurt themselves so they can no longer perform. For example, the Shade causes a girl to fall off the monkey bars and hurt her wrist.
- The Shade spooks a horse that almost runs into Lexi.
- A garden gnome comes alive. It peeks out of a tree. “Sita screamed as the branches parted and a pottery face grinned down at them. Its eyes glowed red beneath its bobble hat. . . The gnome cackled and jumped hard on the branch he was standing on. CRACK! The branch broke and fell, crashing down right onto Lexi and hitting her head.” Sita uses magic to heal the wound.
- The Wish Shade locks Lexie and Sita in a shed and sets it on fire. “Violet ran to a water faucet on the side and started to fill a bucket with water to try and douse the bonfire. . .”
- As the Star Friends try to help Sita and Lexi, the gnome “shoved” Mia. “She fell inside the shed… the door had been slammed shut, and she heard the bolt being pushed across the outside.”
- When the gnome jumps on the birdbath, Lexi “chucked the apple at the gnome. It shot through the air with perfect accuracy and hit him square on the forehead. . . the gnome lost his balance and fell backward. There was a cracking noise as he broke into pieces.”
- The Shade tries to get away. Bracken, the fox, “bit the Shade’s leg and hung on tight. The Shade hissed and swiped down with his sharp claws.” The friends grab “the Shade’s bony arms, pinning his hands down.” Violet then commands the Shade to “return to the Shadows.”
Drugs and Alcohol
- Magical animals from another world come into the human world looking for a Star Friend. Each animal must “find a human child to be your Star Friend – a child who is kindhearted enough to use magic for good and brave enough to defeat someone using dark magic. When you meet a child. . . speak to him or her with your thoughts. If they are open to magic, they will hear you.”
- The magical animals can appear and disappear. They also each have a unique magical ability.
- Mia’s magic has to do with sight. “If she looked into a shiny surface, she could see things that were happening in other places.”
- Mia and her friends need to fight dark magic. “People who used dark magic could conjure horrible spirits called Shades from the shadows. The Shade would then either be set free to bring chaos and unhappiness wherever it went, or it could be trapped in an object and given to someone whom the person doing dark magic wanted to harm.”
- Lexi’s magic allows her to heal injuries.
- Violet can shadow-travel. She “learned to use shadows to travel wherever I want. I just imagine where I want to go, and then I come out in the nearest patch of shadows by that place.”
- The girls want to fight a Shade, but they’re not sure what kind it is. “There are all different kinds of Shades—Nightmare Shades, Ink Shades, Wish Shades. Some live in mirrors and talk to people and make them do bad things, like that Mirror Shade. Others can bring bad luck or trap people in different ways.”
- When Mia tries to use her magic to see the Shade, she discovers that “the person using dark magic may have cast a spell so they can’t be seen by magic.”
- Aunt Carol was Mia’s grandmother’s best friend. Aunt Carol uses crystals to do magic.
- Paige, who was not chosen to be on the gymnastic team, meets the Shade that is in a gnome. She explains, “I should wish I was on the gymnastics team. I thought it would bring me good luck—I didn’t think he’d bring everyone else bad luck!” The gnome says, “Once a wish has been made, it can’t be stopped.”