Cover image for Molly and the magic wishbone
Molly and the magic wishbone
McClintock, Barbara.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
United States : Spoken Arts, [2001]

Physical Description:
1 cassette (8 min.) : analog + 1 book (1 volumes (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 27 cm)
Molly's fairy godmother gives her a magic fishbone that will grant one wish, which the resourceful girl saves until she really needs it.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR LG 3.1 0.5 54589.


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
CASSETTE KIT 1293 Juvenile Fiction Picture Books

On Order



A delightful picture book loosely based upon the Charles Dickens storyThe Magic Fishbone. When Molly's fairy godmother tells her that she will find a magic fishbone that will grant her but one wish, all her brothers and sisters want to know what Molly will wish for. There are many things Molly would like, and so many ways in which a wish would come in handy, but she decides to wait until she knows exactly what she wants. Enchanting, old-fashioned illustrations depict a wondrous nineteenth-century London alive with elegantly clad cats, pigs, goats, birds, and other two- and four-legged creatures in Barbara McClintock's delightful reminder that patience and practicality are rewarded.

Author Notes

Children's book author and illustrator Barbara McClintock was born in Clinton, New Jersey on May 6, 1955. She attended Jamestown College in North Dakota before moving to New York City on the recommendation of Maurice Sendak, whom she called to ask advice about how to become a children's book illustrator. She briefly studied at The Art Students League of New York.

Before meeting Jim Henson and illustrating books for his television series Fraggle Rock, she designed characters for television commercials for an animation studio and illustrated textbooks. Her first book, The Heartaches of a French Cat, won the New York Times Best Books Award. She won this award three more times as well as a Boston Globe/Horn Book Honor award for Dahlia. Her other works include Animal Fables from Aesop, The Fantastic Drawings of Danielle, The Gingerbread Man, Adele and Simon, Mary and the Mouse, the Mouse and Mary, and The Battle of Luke and Longnose.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Ages 4-8. A Victorian setting and a family of kittens dressed in Kate Greenaway attire are only part of the charm of this fairy tale, loosely based on a story by Charles Dickens. Mama has an earache, so eldest sister Molly goes out to buy fish for dinner. An old woman tells Molly she will find a bone in her fish that will be good for one wish: "Use it wisely." As promised, the bone appears, and Molly tells her siblings about the wish. Soon a wish is needed: the pet rabbit takes ill, and the children want Molly to make it well. After Molly provides a blanket and water, six baby bunnies are born. When Mama's favorite bowl is broken, the children want to use the wish to put it together, but Molly uses glue. Then littlest sister Phyllis sets out to find a fishbone of her own. Instead, she gets lost, and Molly can't find her, no matter how hard she tries. Now it's time to use the magic wish. McClintock's telling is well paced and nuanced; clever Molly seems like a traditional fairy tale heroine yet modern and resourceful, too. And, oh, the charm of the pictures. The Dickensian world is fully realized, especially in the spread showing people bustling down a traditional High Street on a snowy day. Practically purr-fect. --Ilene Cooper

Publisher's Weekly Review

McClintock (Heartaches of a French Cat) does wonders with a modest Charles Dickens story, casting it with Rackham-esque animal characters and placing it in a wintry 19th-century city. Whereas Dickens's 1868 tale "The Magic Fish-Bone" concerns a princess, this captivating revision introduces Molly, a graceful gray-and-white cat who cares for four younger siblings in a sparsely appointed house. When Molly goes to market, she threads her way among a motley assortment of birds, foxes and mice, all humanly attired in cloaks, bonnets or tailored suits. On her way home with a big fish in her wicker basket, she meets an elder cat, a fairy godmother who instructs her to make a wish on her leftovers: "Sure enough, that night, right after all the fish was eaten, one thin white bone was left on Molly's plate./ It must be true!" Molly's brothers and sisters prod her to choose fine clothes or candy, but Molly knows what she must wish for when the youngest kitten, Phylis, wanders away and gets lost in the teeming city. McClintock's meticulous illustrations of candlelit domestic scenes, inviting shop fronts and horse-drawn carriages resemble hand-colored wood engravings and reward close scrutiny; the author devotes careful attention to the expressive animal characters, demonstrating through various vignettes Molly's patience (and aggravation) with her clamoring feline family. Earth-toned watercolors and cream-white stock enhance the old-fashioned appearance, and both the splendid imagery and harmonious layouts recall Caldecott's picture books. Ages 3-6. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

PreS-Gr 1-When Molly is given a magic wishbone by her Fairy Godmother, her younger brothers and sisters urge her to wish for toys, a new dress, or a horse. However, even when they beg her to call upon the magic to help their sick pet rabbit or to repair Mama's best bowl when it breaks, the little cat prefers common-sense solutions (tender loving care, some glue). Then, when little Phylis goes out to look for a wishbone of her own and gets lost, Molly puts her magic to use. Frogs, cats, mice, and other animals in Victorian dress inhabit McClintock's warm illustrations, and the expressions of the characters are endearing. A combination of full-page and spot illustrations extends the text, making effective use of white space (as when little Phylis ventures out alone, the white around her emphasizing how very small and vulnerable she is). Though the message-that family is more important than material possessions-is an admirable one, the story, loosely based on Charles Dickens's "The Magic Fish-bone," is hardly original. It is the illustrations, with their simple, evocative style and endearing characters, that make this book a charmer.-Kathleen Kelly MacMillan, Carroll County Public Library, Eldersburg, MD (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.