“What an adventure (Lilly’s travels in the Land of Ten Kings and Roses) is! The colorful illustrations are absolutely gorgeous.”
—Dr. Tami Brady
TCM Reviews, April 4, 2008
“…a lovely modern fairy tale! I loved the book. …gives young readers all sorts of positive messages about relationships, friendship, respect, manners, and doing the right thing. …a terrific book to use for bedtime stories (and) to further encourage young imaginations and creativity.”
Dallas Book Diva
Interview April 8, 2008
“Children who venture into magical lands such as Oz, Narnia, or Wonderland will follow Lilly eagerly on her quest to find Princess Anais, wearer of the Magic Gown, and restore ‘the tenth king’ to his throne in The Land of Ten Kings and Roses. …(the author’s) impressionistic watercolors recall Manet and Van Gogh, spilling indiscriminately throughout the book….”
“…a fantasy novel …to delight young readers…beautifully illustrated with…full-color paintings on virtually every page. Dragons, dreams, and destiny abound in this enchanting adventure by children’s poetry and dream workshop leader J.L. Kimmel.”
—The Midwest Book Review
“The Magic Gown is a quality story about what has already come. …it is not only a magical adventure of transformation and hope but an inspirational reminder of the beauty and strength that resides in the human spirit.”
—Angeles Arrien, cultural anthropologist and award-winning author
“…JL Kimmel’s dream-like homage to authors Lewis Carroll and Frank Baum. …extraordinary paintings…enchanting characters and archetypes. …Kimmel wants us to believe that there is a more hopeful future for all of humanity….”
Second Saturday Magazine
Interview Feb. 9, 2008
“(The author) reveals the adventure, tension and magic of the human quest for wholesome maturity. …unfolds with an excitement and intensity equaled by its vibrant full-color illustrations…. Multi-layered treasures for heart and mind…. A not-to-be-missed book!”
—Sister Laura Algiere, DW
Editorial Board of Wellsprings, a publication
of the Daughters of Wisdom, U.S. Province
“This magical book is filled with enchantment, exquisite visuals and a compelling story for all ages. You will step into a world of wonder through The Magic Gown. Mr. H. Myrrh, a dragon, puts it succinctly, ‘Get used to the unusual, kid!’ ”
—Patrick O’Neill, President
Extraordinary Conversations, Inc.
Author of The Visionmaker
“I think it’s great for kids because they have a really easy time imagining the scenes in the book. The descriptions are as colorful as the pictures they’re based on.”
—a mother’s comment from “Author Brings ‘Magic’ to Oceanic Library,” by David Apy
The Two River Times, Aug. 24, 2007
“…a magical story of transformation and hope…a reminder of the strength that lives in the human spirit…a book that will open your young reader’s imagination and creativity.”
Today’s Parent magazine
A BEAUTIFUL EXTENSIVE REVIEW BY SISTER LAURA ALGIER
OF THE ORDER OF THE DAUGHTER’S OF WISDOM FOR:
THE CHILDREN’S RIGHTS OF NEW YORK, INC.
FALL NEWSLETTER FALL 2007
A Journey into Transformation and Hope
Reviewed by Laura Algiere
Adventure awaits readers, especially eight through twelve year-olds, in Janine Layton Kimmel’s exciting fiction chapter-book, The Magic Gown. Eleven year-old heroine, Lilly Segovia, grapples with the typical emotions of a girl her age when faced with her family’s move out-of-state. Halloween brings an encounter with the parents of a missing neighborhood boy. The next morning mysterious flowers blossom in Lilly’s home, and then she is surprised by an eerie visit from a blue swan who speaks to Lilly with a woman’s voice. Told that a simple piece of jewelry she wears is “the shell of great fortune and mysterious ways,” Lilly cries out with confusion and fear, “That sounds terrible.”
“No, not terrible. Wonderful!” replies the swan, Zara Bluewood, from the Blue Tree Forest. And she adds, “I have come to tell you that magic is swirling all around, waiting, waiting, and waiting.”
And herein lays the marvelous theme of The Magic Gown: life is full of a wondrous kind of magic that’s already within each of us waiting to be discovered. We can believe in ourselves, activating it – or refuse to take that step into self-confidence and trust, and remain in confusion and fear, overwhelmed with the world’s negativity.
A Guide to Healing and Wholeness
The reader accompanies Lilly on this very journey. Her reactions are so real and down-to-earth; we can’t help but be drawn into the drama. “Zara…answer me. Is this the magic? I don’t like it. You are scaring me.”
At the same time, we long for Lilly to be open and move into the magic, so we too can discover it. How could we not hope for something great to happen, hearing Zara’s prediction: “The time has come so long forbidden, until now this magic hidden. Wonderful, wonderful…Oh sweet child let us rejoice. Another door has opened!”
This is no ordinary children’s mystery story. Its uniqueness stems from the author’s multidimensional background. Originally working as an RN, Ms. Kimmel went on for a Master’s in Transpersonal Studies. Couple this with a lifetime of writing poetry, drawing, painting, and sculpting – and you see a glimmer of the richness and depth she brings to all who read The Magic Gown. This is real-life magic at its best; sometimes we call it healing and wholeness.
Finding Strength through the Power of Imagination
“This can’t be happening. Someone help me,” Lilly whispers – and not only Lilly, but the troubled pre-teen, the young cancer patient, the disabled adolescent who may be reading along with her.
“Help is on the way. They will help you Lilly. You must meet them first,” answers Rue, a big cat-creature with bright yellow-green cat eyes. And moments later, Lilly finds herself “in a blowing hurricane of color” where two see-through people of vivid colors, with flowing wings, greet her in a language that sounds like the wind moving through the leaves. When a rosy red butterfly brushes the tip of her nose, the Queen of the Colorful Wind explains, “That was Theresa…she appears whenever change is in the air.”
Using Humor to Face Uncertainty
As Lilly opens the next door and finds a flat desert that stretches on and on, she call out, “Wind Angels…I want to go home now!” Stepping onto the sand with one foot she hesitates, “as if she expected someone to disagree with her.” When she finally steps into the sand with both feet, Lilly finds herself stopped dead in her tracks. “Now what? I can’t move. I can’t move.” A fine description of the paralysis one feels in the Great Desert of Uncertainty! Here Lilly ponders the dangers she’s been warned of, especially the dreaded Lacks, creatures who drain all life out of people. And she notices that the crescent moon shining over this desert is suspended in the black starless sky. “I like stars. Where are they? What kind of place doesn’t have stars? A dumb place, that’s what kind.” But, at least, wondering about the stars helped her forget for a little while that she was afraid.
Humor to the Rescue
As Lilly tries to run through this Great Desert of Uncertainty, she is chased by an enormous winged dragon, trips over a pile of bones, slides over the edge of a huge crack and hangs on to a skeleton’s leg, stuck in the sand, to save herself. When the frightful dragon bends over and eyes her, he reaches toward her with long claws, growling, “I do not think it’s your destiny to fall into the Crack of Despair.”
Playing guessing games with Lilly, he gets her to laugh, and with every laugh, the sky lights up with stars. “They had been there all along. She just needed to laugh.” And Lilly and the dragon do a dance around the Well of Unfathomable Suffering, laughing and laughing until it is time for her to move into the next challenge, singing the tune taught her by the friendly dragon. “Know no fear, my little dear, my sweet silly Lilly!”
Highly Recommended Reading and Workshops
Strong medicine here! It’s fortified by a riot of color in more than 50 highly imaginative illustrations created by Kimmel herself. The Magic Gown also boasts a mythological world complete with maps and a full complement of metaphorical characters with brain-teaser names.
Charming, wholesome, and highly recommended reading for young people, especially those feeling daunted by life’s challenges, this feast is available as well for the numerous children participating in J.L. Kimmel’s poetry and dream workshops.
To book Ms. Kimmel for a children’s workshop, reading or speeches, contact Sgarlat Publicity at P.O. Box 4204, Charlottesville, VA 22905; SgarlatPublicity@comcast.net; or phone (434) 245-2272