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Half Magic: Fiftieth-Anniversary Edition Hardcover – October 1, 2004


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Children's Christmas Books
Visit the Children's Christmas Bookstore to find stories about Santa and his reindeer, cozy books to read by the fire, and sweet stories about family celebrations.

Product Details

  • Age Range: 9 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 4 - 7
  • Hardcover: 217 pages
  • Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers; 50 Anv edition (October 1, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0152053026
  • ISBN-13: 978-0152053024
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.5 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #416,128 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Half Magic is a funny, charming, timeless book, as much a pleasure to read to a child now as it was forty years ago. Those who had it read to them then may even have an obligation to pass on the pleasure."--The New York Times Book Review

About the Author

EDWARD EAGER (1911-1964) worked primarily as a playwright and lyricist. It wasn't until 1951, while searching for books to read to his young son, that he began writing children's stories.

JACK GANTOS is a National Book Award finalist, the recipient of a Newbery Honor and a Printz Honor, and the bestselling author of Joey Pigza Swallowed the Key, Joey Pigza Loses Control, the Rotten Ralph series, and Hole in My Life, as well as a dozen other widely acclaimed books of fiction for young readers. He lives in Boston, Massachusetts.

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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It has a timeless quality to it like the Harry Potter books do.
Susan F. Simmons
This has been in my memory as my favorite book from childhood and I'm now 65!
Laurie Macdonald
The story is delightful and the illustrations wonderfully unique.
Bill Loguidice

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Erika Sorocco on September 24, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Siblings Jane, Mark, Katharine, and Martha don't suspect anything out of the ordinary when Jane finds a nickel on the sidewalk and takes it home. After all, money is money. However, Jane soon realizes that the nickel isn't really a nickel, but rather a strange coin. A magical coin. For when Jane, who along with her brother and sisters, is having the most boring summer ever makes a wish, half of it is granted. It is soon found out that the mysterious coin grants wishes, but only by halves, so you have to wish for twice as much as you really want. While many of the wishes turn out just fine, some of them have caused nothing but trouble, in both the children's lives, as well as the lives of many people in present time and history, and it's the fault of the strange coin itself.

Edward Eager has created an enjoyable fantasy novel that is sure to please the middle readers both of today, and yesterday. Filled with four characters who all hold their own quirks, and possess sassy tongues, as well as vivid imaginations, who will easily be loved by readers young and old. And let's not forget the enchanting green and white illustrations littered throughout the novel, that will capture the imaginations of all. HALF-MAGIC is an absolute must have!

Erika Sorocco

Book Review Columnist for The Community Bugle Newspaper
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Jill Malter on July 1, 2007
Format: Hardcover
These days, when so many of us are reading the Harry Potter books, it may be good to remember some of the more classic fantasy tales of a couple of generations ago. Yes, one could try "Peter Pan" and all the Oz books, but there were a bunch of other books such as this one which I think were excellent as well.

I think that "Half Magic" is about right for kids around eight or so. The language is about right for children (the toughest line for a really young reader might be "whence do you hail?"). And it is simply a charming little book. We get to read about a talking cat, visits to faraway places, and maybe best of all, a person who is not exactly all there.

I highly recommend this book. Of course, it's supposed to be only for kids. We grownups are supposed to be way past reading this sort of thing. And if we did read it, we probably wouldn't admit it. But some kids will still recommend this book to their grandmothers, and I think they're right to do so.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on November 29, 2006
Format: Hardcover
HALF MAGIC IS THE BEST CHILDREN'S BOOK OF ALL TIME. I will explain why later, but first, we need to get some facts striaght. One of the reviewers said that the story was set in 1975. VERY WRONG. Half Magic takes place in the early/middle 1920s, because it said that Barbara La Marr was starring in movie called Sandra, which I believe came out in 1924. And I'm pretty sure about this, because I am also a movie buff and I love silent movies, though my favorite is a musical called the Broadway Melody of 1936. So that's stuff I wanted say about the time of the book. Now, why Half Magic is such a good book: 1. Because it's got a SUPERB plot. 4 siblings Jane, the oldest, Mark, the second, then 9 year-old Katherine and the whiner of the 4, Martha, the youngest. One day Jane finds a coin that grants half of your wishes, and thay have wonderful adventures with it. There's even a moral, but not so evident that it will make you not want to read it. 2: Because Edward Eager is such a great writer. The way he writes, you know that he REALLY UNDERSTANDS KIDS, and the book is written in such a easy, understanding and wonderful way that you find yourself agreeing with him and the 4 kids. Now, take Beverly Cleary. She's a great writer too, but really not as good. EDWARD EAGER WROTE HALF MAGIC WAAAY BEFORE BEVERLY CLEARY WROTE HER CHILDRENS' BOOKS, AND HIS, ARE NOT SO OLD-FASHIONED TO TIMES OF NOW,BUT HERS ARE HOPELESSLY OUTDATED! They are sooo behind the times that no kid can possibly connect with her characters, but his characters, from the EARLY 1920s, ARE MORE UP TO DATE THAN RAMONA AND BEATICE FORM HER SAD NOVELS! I really reccomend getting the hardcovr, of this book, becuase Half Magic is something you'll want to read over and over again, and treasure. I love this book just as much as I love my mom. Truly an amazing story.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By S. E. Amerson on April 13, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I first read "Half Magic" in elementary school and I have read it 4 or 5 times, since. It is a funny, exciting, literate, book that is good for all ages. Toddlers will miss a lot of what it has to say, but get the adventure.

Four children find a magic charm that grants wishes by halves. Fun and adventure happens when they use the charm and when they forget its secret. Their lives and the lives of those they love are made much better. When the book is finished, the reader smiles and wishes there were more. There are more books in the series, but this one is the best.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By David McElvenney on May 3, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I first read Half Magic when I was about seven years old. It was the first book I read "all by myself" and I was thunderstruck. It's a wonderfully literary and literate story of four siblings who find a magic charm that works by halves. (If, for example, you wish to be on a desert island, you might end up in the desert.) They have to figure out the "rules" as they go along, and they learn lessons along the way. The author, Edward Eager, is obviously a big fan of E. Nesbit, and acknowledges his debt to her in this and other books. Mr. Eager never "talks down" to his young readers, and I think this allows the book to stand up well for those of us who re-read it as adults. I would certainly recommend this for childen who are ready to "really read" and the adults willing to let them.
I must also say that I love the illustrations, too, and I much prefer the cover of the hardback edition to that of the paperback.
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