“Joy is a precious thing. And precious things are few. So we learn to hold on to them. We keep them close.”

Review by: Ivy

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The Magic Fish is a masterful graphic novel, hitting every note of sweetness and melancholy in a way that made me feel more emotional about a book than I have in a long time. The flow of the novel is key, the way it drifts from story to reality seamless and meaningful without being heavy-handed. The flow is evident in both the story and art and the whole vibe of the structure harkens back to the title perfectly.

The art of The Magic Fish is unique and emotive and, a la Tillie Walden, told the story much more than the text. The fact that Nguyen drew most of these pages by hand is astounding and makes the book feel that much more personal. The colors were also beautiful, centering and drawing the piece together without adding too much unnecessary detail that wasn’t already evident in the line art.

There’s something for everyone, since the narrative includes the perspective of both mother and son and their journeys to find peace, identity, and connection with each other...”

Overall, The Magic Fish is perfect. Yeah, I said it. There’s something for everyone, since the narrative includes the perspective of both mother and son and their journeys to find peace, identity, and connection with each other. I love Nguyen’s art, as it feels fresh while also harkening back to my favorite fairytale illustrations. This book is just incredibly kind and sparklingly magical.

Rating: five talking birds/five

For Fans Of: The Prince & The Dressmaker by Jen Wang, This Was Our Pact by Ryan Andrews, Flamer by Mike Curato