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M Is for Magic Hardcover – June 26, 2007

4.2 out of 5 stars 91 customer reviews

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Hardcover, June 26, 2007
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Taking both inspiration and naming convention from Ray Bradbury's R Is for Rocket and S Is for Space, Gaiman's first YA anthology is a fine collection of previously published short stories. Although Gaiman's prose skill has improved markedly since the earliest stories included here, one constant is his stellar imagination, not to mention his knack for finding unexpected room for exploration in conventional story motifs. Jill Dumpty, sister of the late Humpty, hires a hard-boiled detective to look into her brother's tragic fall; the 12 months of the year sit around in a circle, telling each other stories about the things they've seen; an elderly woman finds the Holy Grail in a flea market and takes it home because of how nice it will look on her mantelpiece. Collectors will be pleased to note the inclusion of several stories that were previously published in the now-hard-to-find collection Angels & Visitations. Also of note is fan favorite How to Talk to Girls at Parties, which has been nominated for a Hugo Award for 2007. Though Gaiman is still best known for his groundbreaking Sandman comic book epic, this volume is an excellent reminder of his considerable talent for short-form prose. Ages 10-up. (July)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

A modern master of fantasy has selected nine of his short stories and a poem and added a segment from an upcoming children's title for this volume, appropriately titled in homage to a past master, Ray Bradbury. Leading off with a classic detective story involving nursery rhyme characters, Gaiman continues down familiar but twisted paths. There's a scary jack-in-the-box and a troll under a bridge. A rogue describes a perfect scam. A black cat fends off the devil; the eaters of a phoenix discover that it burns. There are stories about talking with girls, with ghosts, with knights in armor, and with aliens. Finally, Gaiman concludes with instructions for proper behavior in fairy-tale land. Although all but "The Witch's Headstone" have appeared elsewhere, this well-chosen collection is sure to create a new generation of Gaiman fans who will not need to understand all the allusions to enjoy the stories. Danish comic-book artist Kristiansen, no stranger to Gaiman material, will be providing the illustrations. Kathleen Isaacs
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins (July 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061186422
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061186424
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.9 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.9 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (91 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,137,321 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By DelusionalAngel TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 19, 2010
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
So I've read a few Neil Gaiman books of all kinds (comics, YA, full length adult novels) and thus far the absolute worst I could say about any of them has been that it was "Okay", so when I saw this one cheap on Kindle I figured why not, surely I couldn't go wrong. Well, except for the fact that I was seeing mixed reviews. Upon further review of the reviews I noticed something. The really bad ones all seemed to center around one theme -- It appears in the 9-12 year old category and there seems to be much debate about if it belongs there. I figured I'd read it and decide for myself if those complaints were warranted.

While I am no prude and do think my nephew (who is about to turn 9 as I write this) is actually mature enough to read this book, I could see why some parents would object. What could parents object to? Well: There is a description of a nude troll, he's male if that tells you anything about what you'll find in this book. No? Okay well we learn that a teenage boy wants to touch breasts. Or that a married man appreciates getting "laid" by women other than his wife. A certain word that rhymes with witch makes an appearance. There's some drinking (including by teens).

These references are brief and are not graphic. In fact what I've just typed here, that's about it for the questionable material I think, and about as graphic as it is in the book (other than my editing of that one word here). I suspect most children have seen, heard, and read worse especially if they've watched any tv or movies. Then again, yes some parents would find it a bit much for the average 9 year old.
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Format: Hardcover
What a lot of people seem to miss when complaining about this book is that it was assembled for younger readers. This book was made in the style of Ray Bradbury's R Is For Rocket. It's primary function is to introduce younger readers to Gaiman's work. All the stories here I would feel comfortable with my children reading, while most of the titles from Fragile Things, I might hesitate. This book does contain some repeat stories, some hard-to-find material, and some new stories, as well. Read this book to get a sneak peek at Neil's new book, The Graveyard Book. All in all, a wonderful book, and I'm thankful for it.
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Format: Hardcover
M IS FOR MAGIC is a collection of eleven short stories. This book was geared for elementary/middle school but I thought that I couldn't read many of the stories aloud in my classroom because some of the themes are pretty adult.

I liked many of the stories, especially THE WITCH'S HEADSTONE. This was a story about a real boy who was living in a graveyard and being raised by ghosts. He decides to do a very kind thing for a ghost who didn't get a gravestone and the story follows the adventure that goes with that decision.

I also enjoyed THE CASE OF FOUR AND TWENTY BLACKBIRDS. It was a detective story set with nursery rhyme characters. The detective needs to solve the mystery of who killed Humpty Dumpty. It is told with attitude and is very funny.

There are also stories that are scary or just plain creepy. The story about the jack-in-the-box just gave me chills. So if you want to read some good, strange stories that only take about an hour to read, check this book out.

Reviewed by: Marta Morrison
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Format: Paperback
Let me first state that I'm an adult Gaiman fan, and I really like his YA work, including this collection. Other reviews have covered what stories are included, so what I'll focus on is the age level so parents can make an informed decision. I bought this book for myself, but to justify its purchase, I figured that my kids (under 10), who are very good readers, could read it, too. I consider myself a pretty liberal parent, but after reading this, I'll tuck it away for when my kids are older. The specs give a reading level of 9-12 years, and I think that's really deceptive. Yes, a reader in that age range can read the words, but the content, the feelings evoked, are much more adult. Even the Humpty Dumpty story requires an understanding of the private "dick" (as in "detective") genre to be funny. Other bits that come up in passing are marital infidelity, troll privates, and teen hormones. Nothing is going to corrupt a kid, by any means, and all of these things occur very naturally in their context, but I'm not sure an eight- or nine-year-old kid is really the right audience. Some of the stories would be great to read aloud to younger kids who like spooky stories, but overall, I think the book is really for young ADULTS, not elementary-age kids. If you are a parent or teacher choosing reading material for kids not yet in high school, my advice is to read the book yourself first.
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Format: Audio CD
Neil Gaiman, the author of the novel Stardust (which was made into a great film with Robert De Niro and Claire Danes) and the Sandman stories /graphic novels from DC Comics, is a natural storyteller. He is also a noted children author with a special talent to talk to children and adults with the sense of wonder of a child. He also has a children's audio collection of his picture books.

Now to this current audio collection, these are sort of stories you would hear when you were ten and around a summer campfire. The narrative talent of Gaiman draws the listener in and keeps you in. You don't care if these tales are for children, young adults or adults, he makes all these PG type stories great.

What makes this collection great is good storytelling. Like Ray Bradbury's S is for Space, which he notes in his audio forward, Gaiman uses simple ideas and meshes them into mini horror or thriller tales . . . and keeps you interested!

It is worth your time to get this collection for your family. When you do, get one for the adults and one for the kids
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