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Magic or Not? Paperback – August 16, 1999

4.4 out of 5 stars 24 customer reviews
Book 5 of 7 in the Magic Series

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“Lots of fun.”  ―The New York Times Book Review

"This latest book by the inventive and highly literate Mr. Eager is by all odds his best. The characters . . . are so alive they seem to step right out of the pages."  ―Chicago Tribune

Book Description

Previous paperback edition:
$6.99 PA/$7.99 CAN
ISBN 978-0-15-202080-4 (OSI)
--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 2 - 5
  • Lexile Measure: 660L (What's this?)
  • Series: Tales of Magic (Book 5)
  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Odyssey Classics; 1 edition (August 16, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0152020802
  • ISBN-13: 978-0152020804
  • Product Dimensions: 7.6 x 5.1 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #617,303 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I love all of Eager's books. "Magic or Not" and "The Well Wishers" differ from his other five books in that the magic is less overt. It might be magic, it might be imagination, or ???? This book introduces readers to the joys that a love of the past can offer. The mystery centers on an abandoned house--who lived there? Why did they leave? The children are realistic, and you'll want to eat Lady Baltimore cake after reading this book. I read it at 8 and checked it out again and again just so I could keep it on my bookshelf. I'm happy today to own that original hardcover (the same one I checked out 30 years ago) as well as one of the newer paperback editions. The illustrations are great too.
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Format: Kindle Edition
As the title suggests, this fantasy is a bit different from the earlier Eager magic books. The children are not 100% sure that the events are magical. The story does not involve talking animals, toys that come alive, time travel, or other magical elements in the other books. But the characters and quasi magical events are entertaining and appealing.

Twins Laura and James move a new town, where they meet Kit and quirky Lydia. They want to use the wishing well in the twins’ garden to do good for the people they meet, including impoverished gentlewoman Isabella King, banker Hiram Bundy, and lost little boy Harold. Although they fail to charm Mrs. Gordon T. Witherspoon into abandoning her opposition to the new school, they gain a surprising ally in her unprepossessing son Gordy, who has no friends, and are ultimately won over by his eagerness. These same children (including poor Gordy) are featured in Eager’s next book, “The Well-Wishers.”
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Format: Paperback
In this book Mr. Eager introduces us to James, Laura, Kip, Lydia, Deborah and Gordy....not to mention the magic of the wishing well. In this book James and Laura have just moved to the country from New York. They are both excited about this move. A move to the country, for them, signals the beginning of adventure. They find adventure, too, when Lydia suggests to Laura to make a wish upon the well in hers' and James' new backyard. Some of the good deed adventures in this book are exciting, some are not; however, interesting insight is offered into each character-which will come in handy when reading "The Well Wishers", the sequel.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Edward Eager's books are well written, magical and educational. I discovered these books this year, 2012, as a result of my 8 year old son's interest in magic books. Amazon pointed me to these and we now own all seven of the series - they are well worth it. Published in the 1950's they remain interesting and imaginative.
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Format: Kindle Edition
http://readfantasybooks.wordpress.com

Magic or Not? is a bit different than all of the other Tales of Magic books, but it is still quite enjoyable and a great addition to the series.

In this novel their are four children, later on five, who go on what they believe to be magical adventures given to them by a wishing well. However, they are never sure whether or not it really is magic or if it is just a coincidence. This is what made the story interesting and kept it a bit more real, like how children pretend when they play, and don't actually go on magical adventures. However, even though I like the book, I didn't really like this part of it because when they go on actual adventures to different places or times it makes the book so much more interesting. Instead, they just explore their new town and decide to help people in need. I did like how everything they did and all the people they helped seemed to be connected together.

Most of the characters were enjoyable. Laura and James are the two main characters. They are twins who just moved into their new house, they are both really smart and love books, especially Half Magic. They eventually meet Kip who is their neighbor. He loves popsicles and was always eating one, at least at the beginning of the book, then no mention of them later on, which was weird. The children also meet Lydia, whom Kip doesn't really like at first because she seems kind of weird. She is their other neighbor who lives with her very artistic grandmother, she is mysterious, scared of horses, but rides one anyway, loves reading as much as Laura and James, and turns out to be a pretty good artist.

I was amazed how much we learn about each of the characters, especially in such a short book.
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Format: Paperback
First, I recommend that you read the book "Half-Magic" first. That is Mr. Eager's best book, and it sets the tone for every other book he wrote. You get a feel for the type of characters he has in his stories, and the theme of magic having rules, which is absolutely critical in this book.
This books' charm is that Mr. Eager is so vague about the children's; wishes being magic or not that you are left wondering. This is not as overt as his other books, and it is this subtlety that energizes me.
We all know that magic has rules-read G. K. Chesterton's essay "The Ethics of Elf-Land"-but this book takes that idea to the next level. The magic is not magic at all, but just our godlike powers of doing good and helping other people.
This book is a great way to get your children to do right. Start out with "Half Magic,' and teach you children that magic, along with everything else, has rules. Then introduce them to this series of books, which teaches that magic is just us doing the right thing. This will save you many lectures and fights sine the morality is coated in a fairy tale.
A great alternative to Harry Potter.
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