Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Half Magic

Title:  Half Magic
Author:  Edward Eager
Illustrator:  N. M. Bodecker
Approximate reading level:  5th grade
Main characters: Siblings Jane, Mark, Katherine, and Martha

Summary:  The four children are out on a summer day, looking for adventure, when Jane finds (what she thinks is) a nickel on the sidewalk.  When she later makes a wish, it comes true--but only halfway.  After thinking long and hard all afternoon and evening, she comes to the conclusion that it was not a nickel, but a magic charm.  Unfortunately by this time, her mother has borrowed the nickel from her dresser for bus fare.  But thankfully, something strange happens while her mother is visiting family and she does not spend the nickel.  What follows is a series of adventures as the children take turns wishing and try to double wish so they will get what they actually want when it only half comes true.

Review:  I think this book is well-written.  Magic is involved, but no harmful magic. The adventures are interesting and do not turn out perfectly--even magic can't fix everything, even when the children try to wish double so that half of the wish will be what they actually want.  They use the magic to help others as well as themselves.
****Four stars

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The Indian in the Cupboard

Title:  The Indian in the Cupboard
Author:  Lynne Reid Banks
Approximate reading level:  Sixth grade
Main character:  Omri, a young boy in England

Summary:  The book starts with Omri's birthday.  He receives several presents, including a plastic Indian from his friend Patrick and a cabinet from his brother Gillon.  Although the cabinet locks, there was no key left with the cabinet.  But Omri's mother has a collection of keys, and he finds one that fits.  Somewhere in the key, or the cabinet, or the combination of the two Omri discovers a magic that will change his life drastically.

Review:  The book takes place in England, so there may be a few words that may be difficult for American children to understand (Some examples include biscuit for cookie and lorry for car.  This fantasy does include magic, although it is never purposefully used for harm.  Omri is a young boy faced with a difficult decision and a sudden weight of responsibility, and he fares well.  The book is well-written, although again, there may be some difficulty with a few words due to language differences.

5 stars