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Half Magic Paperback – March 31, 1999
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From School Library Journal
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Audio Cassette edition.
Top Customer Reviews
Half Magic obeys the rules of great magic books that are carefully delineated by the main characters in the first chapter. (See what I mean about intelligence and wit?) The magic has its own rules, which they must discover. They thwart the magic. Then the magic thwarts them. If it's a formula, it's one Edward Eager developed, and it works - you don't want to stop reading, from King Arthur's court to a highly magical ending. (And I have no intention of telling you where that is.)
Even though the plot is exceptional, it's the characters that truly make the book. The four children are clearly *people* - it's easy to imagine meeting them on the street or in a park - and not merely characters on a page. And even though the book is set in the 1930s, and was written in the 1950s, the kids still resonate. We all know, or were, Martha - "Martha was the youngest, and very difficult." Likewise with Jane and Katherine. "Katherine *would* keep boasting about what a comfort she was, and how docile, until Jane declared she would utter a piercing shriek and fall over dead if she heard another word about it."
This first book in Eager's loosely-intertwined series is a masterpiece of children's literature. Children and adults alike will love Half Magic. Start here - and remember, to read one is to want them all.
(NB: the quotes used here came from my memory - I checked them before I submitted the review, of course - and normally my memory is not the best. That should tell you something about the strength of this book, or at least the impression it made on me.)
Half Magic is written in that wonderful, light, easy 'fifties style that gets so easily overlooked in favor of more extreme excitements. Later discovered, though, one simply wonders how writing could have ever been this good. A wonderfully understated example is shown in the genial attitude of the good samaritan stranger who helps out the young adventurers. He's first respectful of their mother,then falls more and more in love as the book goes on. This undercurrent is so subdued and tasteful that it's barely noticeable amid the magical misadventures until the conclusion of the book.
The Leave it to Beaver approach to problem solving is also delighfully refreshing--the spells only half work; unlike the obvious fantasy formulae in countless later books and movies, the magic leaves plenty of room for human ingenuity and skill,as well as the need to make decisions. Eager's other great fantasy, Knight's Castle, also continues in this vein, the hyjinks and hilarity deriving from,and always affirming,the human.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book is absolutely fantastic. It's the story of four children who find a magic coin at the beginning of their summer vacation... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Ethan Jewett
Bought for a gift for the grandchildren. I read it as a child and loved it. They liked it too.Published 1 month ago by J. G. Rowinsky
Read this book as a child and bought it for 8 year old grandson. It's entertaining and still fun for today's kids. Shipped promptly. No complaints. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Radley
i sampled this book i think it will be good i can' t belilive 5 people rated it one star!!!!. .p.s. im 7 my name is campbell and i have a real pet rabbit named macaroon!!! Read morePublished 4 months ago by K1111
Possibly the best book ever written for kids of this age. Unexpected adventure for 4 ordinary kids with sibling rivalry, and teaming up to problem solve. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Fontain Donovan
Loved the series by Mr Eager as a child, but no longer interests mePublished 7 months ago by Marjorie W.
Kids loved this book as a bedtime read aloud. Remniscent of the E Nesbit booksPublished 7 months ago by Kim Shank