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The Wishing Ball    by Elisa Kleven order for
Wishing Ball
by Elisa Kleven
Order:  USA  Can
Farrar Straus & Giroux, 2006 (2006)
* *   Reviewed by Hilary Daninhirsch

Nellie - a stray cat looking for a home, a friend, and some food - finds a mysterious ball with a star design. A mischievous crow tricks the cat into believing that it is a magic ball from the sky, one that will grant wishes.

Soon Nellie loses the ball. While she is searching for it, she meets and forms a friendship with a crocodile named Ernst (who was a character in previous Kleven books). Nellie goes home with Ernst for a meal, and is promptly adopted by Ernst's mother. By this time, the friends have realized that the ball isn't magic after all. Together, the two outsmart the crow by convincing him that the ball did have magic powers, sending him off on a wild goose chase into the sky.

This is a cute story - though a tad too lengthy - about an unlikely friendship. It also teaches that magic is not necessary to get everything that you wish for. Nellie's hopeful spirit is another positive message that children will appreciate, while the animal world created by Kleven via her watercolor illustrations is a cheerful, colorful place.

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