The Magic at Villa Verde by Maryam Nemazie Review

illustrated by Gale Kenison

Villa Verde

The world is a funny place and at times can seem like nobody likes anything or anyone and are only looking out for themselves. But that is not the case, you only have to look at people such as Captain Sir Tom Moore who selfishly raised nearly 39 million pounds for charity, and at the grand old age of 100!

Selflessness, love and charity are important qualities, but they have to be taught to children at home from a very young age, and Maryam Nemazie has written a collection of sweet little rhyming stories for children featuring various animals teaching some very good life lessons with real life values that all children need to learn, and adults could do with remembering.

The Magic at Villa Verde is written by Maryam Nemazie and illustrated by Gale Kenison. It is The Magic at Villa Verde: The Adventure Begins and The Magic at Villa Verde: The Path to Awakening combined to feature 10 rhyming stories with messages about self-esteem, love and compassion for yourself and others, accepting responsibility, being self-sufficient rather than relying on others to do everything for you, and caring for others.

Villa Verde is a beautiful place in the hills that is home to many animals and is the setting for the ten wonderful stories featured within the book. The animals featured are an elephant, bunny, ladybug (ladybird in the UK), giraffe, squirrel, dolphin, bee, mermaid, swan and a meerkat.

The book is a large format (about A4 size) and is laid out in 10 chapters, one for each animal who all have a different message.

Essie the Elephant is a story about self-esteem. Essie really doesn’t like her nose until one day when she has to put it to good use and realises that there is nothing wrong with it and learns to love it.

Baichan the Bunny is a story of true friendship and community. When Baichan goes missing the whole community stops what they are doing to help hunt for their friend.

Laila the Ladybug is a story about acceptance. Laila feels that she doesn’t fit in and isn’t accepted by the other ladybugs as she is different. But she soon comes to realise that she can’t live her life to please others or need their approval and that her unique differences are what make her who she is. After all, the world be such a boring place if everybody was the same.

Jasper the Giraffe is a story of never giving up and doing your very best to achieve your goals. Jasper wants to make the football (soccer) team, but he gets stung and thinks it is all over. But he doesn’t give in or get depressed about it and carries on – singing his own song.

Sahar the Squirrel is a story about being arrogant and not listening to others, rudeness and being polite. Sahar soon realises with the help of a friend that listening to others, admitting defeat and accepting a helping hand that love and respect can mend anything.

Daddy the Dolphin is a story about being self-sufficient and learning to “catch a fish rather than being given one” or if you prefer “give a (wo)man a fish and you feed him/her for a day; teach a (wo)man to fish and you feed him/her for a lifetime”.

Kathy the Queen Bee is about putting love into everything that you do, the power of love can achieve a great deal.

Mimi the Mermaid is a story of forgiveness and how forgiving might be hard but will be worthwhile.

Salma the Swan is a story of having faith and the helpfulness of others.

Mommy the Meerkat is a story about finding your inner bliss and learning to be at peace with yourself.

To go along with the stories, which are all presented in rhyme to make it easier for children to digest, are some excellent illustrations by Gale Kenison. They portray the stories very well and look exquisite.

This is a really interesting and understated book that gives some very good underlying life lessons and moral messages. The messages may be simplified and wrapped up into nice little stories, but they are really important messages, and they are presented in a subtle way that children can learn from without be preached to and all whilst enjoying stories about their favourite animals.

A charming book with good stories that promotes good moral messages about love, forgiveness and self-worth, and illustrated beautifully. The only small negative that we had with the book was that whilst the text on the white pages was very clear to read, the kids found it slightly harder to read the text where it was overlaid on some of the images (although the text is surrounded with a white bubble so that the text wasn’t unreadable).

Rating: 4.5/5

RRP: £24.95

For more information, visit Available to buy from Waterstones.

DISCLOSURE: I was provided with a free copy of this book for the purposes of writing a honest and impartial review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. This review uses an affiliate link which I may receive a small commission from if you purchase through the link.