Chelsie Hardie (text) and Olya Badulina (illustrator), The Magic Ball of String, Richmond Publishing, October 2021, 36 pp., RRP $19.99 (hbk), ISBN 9781875613069
Princess Chelsea and her sisters want to accompany their father on a journey to explore the kingdom. So excited to get on their way, they quickly lose sight of their father. Lost in the dark forest, the princesses must fend for themselves. With the help of a kindly stranger, a tiny hedgehog, and a magic ball of string, Princess Chelsea and her sisters are on their way to living happily ever after.
Reminiscent of stories as old as time, The Magic Ball of String is an interpretation of the classic, charming, happily-ever-after fairy tale. Following the classic fairy tale formula, Chelsea and her sisters are eventually rescued by a strong man on a white horse, who then falls in love with his rescuee and proposes they be wed immediately. While the story is sweet, with talking creatures and the outtake that love will conquer all, parents, carers, and teachers should be aware that there is little in this book of the princess Chelsea ‘doing it for herself’.
The Magic Ball of String was written by new Australian author Chelsea Hardi, who is just seven years old. Chelsea was inspired to write The Magic Ball of String by old Russian fairy tales and the stories she weaved with her mother at bedtime.
Further enhancing the feel of the classic tale, illustrator Olya Badulina has captured the essence of Chelsea’s story with her timeless, charming illustrations. Hers is a world of sumptuous rolling green hills, beautiful ball gowns and sweet forest animals, and she makes each page a visual delight.
Reviewed by Geni Kuckhahn