Author: Cornelia Funke/Translator: Oliver Latsch/Illustrator: Kerstin Meyer
One night as young Emma and her dog Tristan are walking by the ocean, they discover a shiny glass bottle. When Emma opens it–with Tristan’s full approval–out pops an impressive blue genie. Or at least, he would be impressive, if he were his normal self. Poor Karim has lost his powers because a yellow genie stole his nose ring–and his magic along with it! He looks so sad and lonely that Emma and Tristan decide to travel back to his homeland with Karim to recover his powers–and of course, have all sorts of adventures and meet all sorts of interesting people along the way.
Whenever I find a new Cornelia Funke book I haven’t read before, I just sort of light up–her books are that good. Emma and the Blue Genie was a delight to read, and definitely a Cornelia Funke story, although perhaps not what fans of her more grown up books (Inkheart, Reckless, etc.) might expect. The main character is just a little girl–I think about eight–and the story suits readers of that age or perhaps a bit older. It’s really cute and imaginative, full of adventure and fun and interesting characters. Honestly, it reminds me a bit of some of Edith Nesbit’s books (and they’re some of my favorites!)–that sort of slightly more old-fashioned story in which a kid goes on a magical adventure. It’s the sort of story that’s clean and honest fun without having a bunch of stuff parents need to worry about mixed in. The pictures are really nice as well–they sort of remind me of The Little Prince, actually. I would certainly recommend Emma and the Blue Genie, especially to younger readers–but also to older readers, as long as they don’t come at it expecting the complexities of Fearless.