Tuesday, September 19, 2023

Today's read... The Wishing Machine by Jonathan Hillman

Today's read hit a wonderful memory from my childhood. With many younger siblings, sometimes I needed a place to escape...somewhere they wouldn't even dream of going. And that was our washing machine in the very back corner of our basement. I'd sit on either it or on the chest freezer and sketch or read. But wishing on a washing machine? Well, that never happened. So, I was curious to see how the magic in this read unfolds. 

Note: I'm adding this one to my possible favorites for 2023 list because I enjoyed it quite a bit.

by Jonathan Hillman
Illustrated by Nadia Alam
Simon & Schuster
Picture Book
40 pages
ages 4 to 8


Oge Mora’s Saturday meets Carmela Full of Wishes in this touching and whimsical picture book about a mother and child’s last trip to their local laundromat before moving away.

Every Sunday after cereal, Sam and Mom walk to the laundromat, wash their clothes, and see their friends. But this Sunday is different. Today, doing laundry means packing clean clothes in boxes to move away. Sam doesn’t want to leave their neighborhood and friends. Maybe if they hope with all their might, they can turn a washing machine into a wishing machine!

Sam’s imagination transforms the mundane into a series of wonders as they cope with change and learn the true meaning of home.

GOODREADS   /    B&N    /    AMAZON 


With a hint of magic, tons of hope, and a desire for wishes to come true, tons of goodness unfolds in this read.

Every Sunday, Sam and his mother walk to the laundromat, meet others, and wash clothes, but this Sunday, everything is about to change. His mom and him are moving, which means he'll never go to that laundromat again. So, he decides to give something a try and wishes on the washing machine.

My favorite aspect of this read is that it is very easy to identify with. While many picture books have characters, who live in nice houses or apartments, this one hits other circumstances. It shows life at a laundromat, and even mentions how Sam and his mother are going to move into the grandfathers small trailer, where it's tight but full of wonderful things. Sam is happy. The friends at the laundromat are happy. And the magic seems to pour from every corner without really being there at all.

Then, there's the washing machines and the hint of imagination surrounding them. It hints at magic and wishes to add just the right dusting of magic, while never really leaving the amazing twists life offers. It's warming and uplifting without bending past the magic of reality. The text flows smoothly to create a lovely read-aloud either in groups or smaller settings, and the illustrations will have listeners coming back to explore the tale on their own. It's one of those reads to enjoy.

And here they are...

Jonathan Hillman is a graduate of Hamline University’s Writing for Children and Young Adults (MFAC) program, where he received the Walden Pond Press Scholarship for Excellence in Middle Grade Fiction. His essay and poems are featured in the Fat & Queer anthology, and he is the author of picture books Big Wig and The Wishing Machine. He lives near Minneapolis, Minnesota, with his two cats. Visit him at JHillmanBooks.com.


Nadia Alam is a second-generation Bangladeshi Canadian illustrator. She lives in Toronto with her husband, daughter, son, and dog named Momo. The Wishing Machine is her first book for children. Visit her online at NadiaAlamIllustration.com.

No comments: