Customer Reviews: M Is for Magic
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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. So while it claims to be a book for reading levels ages 9-12, well yes a 9 year old could probably read this book with no problems but it's up to you to decide if they're mature enough to handle brief mentions of nudity and sex (as I said, not graphic, but still there in passing). I'd probably suggest Coraline or InterWorld instead if you want to introduce your younger child to Neil Gaiman before this one (of the ones I personally know now anyway).

That said, I'll be rating it as an adult reader. Did Humpty Dumpty REALLY have a great fall? What about the troll under the bridge, what's his story? What's the deal with Jack in his box? What happens when the months of the year get together? Is finding the Holy Grail really a good thing? Who or what really scratches up the cat? Things like this are what make up the short stories in M is for Magic. It's a fun fast read. Fans of Neil Gaiman will probably have read much of this before. Me? I'd only read the passage from The Graveyard book so I loved it as it was new to me and yes quite magical.
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on August 8, 2007
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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on August 20, 2007
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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VINE VOICEon September 22, 2007
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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on March 23, 2011
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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on September 8, 2012
First, I have thusfar thoroughly enjoyed my shallow foray into the quirky and delight-filled weavings of Neil Gaiman. However, to prepare the next reader, I'd stress that many of the "short stories" of "M is for Magic" are unfinished ideas, uncompleted beginnings of stories, and Stress, that they have not, in this collection, been brought to any sort of real conclusions. For me, those non-fatal, but unhappy longings were experienced in most of the "stories" in "M is for Magic". I just wanted some form of endings!

Now, this may just be me - but there it is, from an honest reader, and to you, offering an honest opinion about my experience. This, also, honestly: I HAVE come to appreciate the wonderful, deep, long immersions into Neil Gaiman's Full-Length delightful, and strange novels, ever, ever so much more!
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on December 22, 2015
Gaiman's typical wonder captured on page. Quite honestly I listened to the audiobook first, fell utterly in love, and then HAD to have the hard copy - as often proves the case when it comes to Gaiman's work. I wind up buying nearly everything of his twice, especially if he's reading it - he's probably my favorite narrator of all, and yet the way his words make page-fall drive me to wanting to own the text, as well. Plus it's Gaiman, I know I will read this time and again, and likely wind up buying it again in the future.

Many have shared the greater details of this work, so I won't be redundant. Just know it is as magically, wonderfully Gaiman as ever, and definitely worth the buy...
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on March 12, 2016
Wonderful shorts by a wonderful author. A section of The Graveyard Book and Gaiman's picture book Instructions (sans pictures) are included in this collection. His story Sunbird I've also read in another book. Favorites are Chivalry and October in the Chair.

Update: Found that these stories can be found in Gaiman's more extensive shorts collections, Smoke and Mirrors and Fragile Things. Better to buy them since they come with more works for a similar price.
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on August 16, 2016
I listened to the audio book and was it very good. The author was the narrator and he did a great job. I liked the stories they were wimsical and fun with some solemn sections but it was still a nice variety. I had fun listening to this book and recommend it.
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on May 22, 2014
This is not fiction for just young adults. They are short stories that anyone, except maybe nervous adults and children under 8 to 10) that anyone would love. All of Gaiman's writing is beautiful, funny, and profound without trying.
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