Thursday, January 29, 2009

Half Magic

When we were kids, Half Magic was one of our favorite books. All four of us kids read it many many times. I don't know what happened to the original copy, which looked like this:

I knew I wanted to read the book with my kids, and so I went on the magical site that is Amazon and ordered it when Evalina was getting old enough to appreciate it.

To my delighted astonishment, it was part of a series. Neither I nor my siblings had any idea that the other books existed. I ordered them immediately (but I'll get to them later).

The story: Four siblings (Jane, Mark, Katherine, and Martha) find a charm that looks like a nickel, but most definitely isn't a nickel, on a lazy summer day. Through some fantastic adventures - and misadventures - they discover the secret of the charm. It grants wishes.

But only by halves.

That's right. It's tricky.

So, when the kids wish something exciting, like a fire, would happen, a small playhouse burns down. That kind of thing. They get the knack of it soon enough.

The good: It's pure fun and escapism, and fantastic storytelling. I feel like I know each of the children, in their multi-faceted personalities. I could read this again and again and never be bored. When is magic not fun?

The bad(ish): Since the book takes place in the 40's or 50's, there are things that the kids do that you could never imagine kids doing nowadays, so there was some explaining about why it is never ok to hitchhike, and things like that. Nothing major.

The verdict: Evalina asked me to buy another copy of this book, so that she can give it to a friend (as yet undecided which friend) for a birthday present. Though she is too little to read it herself yet (it is probably best suited for ages 8-12, according to Amazon), she loves it and we've actually read it twice. It's an absolute joy and I look forward to many more readings.

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