Read Half Magic by Edward Eager N.M. Bodecker Online


Four children wish on a Half Magic coin that gets their mother Alison half-way home, rescued by Mr Smith. Mark's wish zaps them to a desert without island, where half-talking cat Carrie gabbles to a camel. Romantic Katherine battles Launcelot. Eldest Jane rejects siblings for another family. Stubborn youngest, Martha, causes a riot downtown....

Title : Half Magic
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780152020682
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 192 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Half Magic Reviews

  • Christine Riccio
    2019-06-06 06:14

    childhood fav <3

  • Melody
    2019-06-23 08:12

    Would you believe I grew up in Toledo, Ohio and never noticed while reading and re-reading this that it was set in my hometown? It's true. I don't know if I just figured ALL books were set there, and that's why the street names were so familiar or if I was just extraordinarily clueless. I figured it out finally when I was reading this to my son. It seems worth talking about in view of how worried people sometimes get about kids getting the wrong message from books- sometimes kids don't even notice the town the book is set in, not to worry about the other things!So, this time through, I was paying more attention. The story is delightful, the kids complex and interesting- but oh, how I love the cat! And Merlin, with his entirely lovely speech, made me cry a little.To wit: '"But what about the good deed I wished?" said Katharine. "None of the ones I tried worked out!""My child," said Merlin, and his smile was very kind now, "you have done your good deed. You have brought me word that for as far into time as the twentieth century, the memory of Arthur, and of the Round Table, which I helped him to create, will be living yet. And in that far age people will still care for the ideal I began, enough to come back through time and space to try to be of service to it. You have brought me that word, and now I can finish my work in peace, and know that I have done well. And if that's not a good deed, I should like to know what is..."'

  • Manny
    2019-06-05 06:06

    "It seems a shame," said Jane, "that no one's going to know about our adventures. They would make such a good book. If only we could write them down!""But how would we do that?" asked Mark. "We're just kids. Oh. Wait. You don't mean...""I certainly do!" said Jane. "We just have to wish for it, and the Charm will take care of the rest. But we need to wish very carefully. Now, what kind of book do we want it to be?""I want it to be like one of E. Nesbit's books!" said Katherine. "Though... if the Charm makes the book like one of hers... you don't think it would be stealing, do you? That would be very wrong.""We could put in an Acknowledgement," said Mark. "Mr. Smith was telling me about that just the other day. We Acknowledge her Influence, and then it will be quite alright. The rest of this review is available elsewhere (the location cannot be given for Goodreads policy reasons)

  • Connie
    2019-06-02 07:54

    Mostly, I love this book. I liked it as a kid (except for that caveat I'll get to in a minute). I like it now, as a grown-up. The story is interesting and engaging. The trouble the kids get themselves into is believable (well, for a fantasy novel...!), and I like their solutions. The problem of having to double all your wishes is interesting to me. The only thing is...The only thing is that a whole chapter is taken up with a trip to a desert, where the children run across an evil, wicked, terrible Arab man. Even the illustration is an ugly caricature. There isn't even a feasible way to avoid this part - it's interwoven in the story in such a way that you can't simply say "Look, this is a part that I feel is inappropriate, we're not reading it today" and skip to the next part.Now, I know, somebody is going to pop up and say "But you can't judge books from 60 years ago according to OUR standards today!" Fair enough. But I'm not reading this book to a child 50 years ago. I'm reading it (or not, actually - I haven't put it on my to-be-read list yet precisely because of this problem) to children NOW. Even when I was a kid, a mere 30 years after the book's publication, that part made me uncomfortable.Am I saying you're bad for liking this book? Absolutely not. I like this book! Am I saying you shouldn't read this book to your children, or allow them to read it? Not necessarily. I certainly support you if that is your choice, but that's not what I mean to say. All I'm saying is that you should read this book yourself before you read it with your children (or use it in a classroom, especially if you have Arab students!), and decide for yourself the best way to approach this issue. It may be to find a way to skip that passage, or it may be to not read the book just yet (or at all - there are plenty of good books out there, choosing one always requires NOT-choosing another!) or it may be to discuss this part with your children and explain your views on the subject, or it may be that you think it's not a big deal. (I disagree with the last, but that's your choice.)Other than that one thing, this is a very good book. It's just that that one thing is SO important. Please pre-read this book.

  • Lady Clementina ffinch-ffarowmore
    2019-06-14 08:11

    Four children―Jane, Katherine, Mark, and Martha―come upon a magic charm. Only it makes just half of what you wish true. The children realise this soon enough and word their wishes so that they can get all of what they want, and start off on a set of exciting adventures which take them to different places and times. But while their wishes do come true, they find that the outcome may not be quite what they were looking for, and they are not always in the right frame of mind to make a carefully worded wish each time. Needless to say, they have a fair share of scrapes and realise they must be careful what they wish for. On the other hand, the charm itself turns out to be more magical than they realise working for them certain magic they hadn’t wished for (or even thought of) which bring them much happiness in the long run. This was not a book or series I’d read as a child and if I’d read it then, I think I would have had much more fun with the adventure elements, though the later parts of the story I think I appreciated better as an adult. The children themselves were real, and rather nice without at the same time being too storybook “good”. I enjoyed the book quite a lot overall, especially the literary references which it was full of including to Nesbit (who’s Psammead books were quite clearly an inspiration(as a GR friend also pointed out)), and the Ingoldsby Legends. Fun read.

  • Meg Cabot
    2019-06-04 09:14

    Edward Eager's Half Magic was 1 of my favorite comfort books as a kid and I can still quote from it.

  • Jesse
    2019-06-26 07:52

    Summertime belongs to childhood. The grown-up version, with BBQs and yard work, can’t compare to the long, long days spent exploring and digging in the dirt.Now, I’m a winter girl, through and through, but when the lightning bugs start to rise up out of the grass, I start to ache for the summers from when I was little. Unfortunately, all the kids who used to comeoutandplay have moved on, and I’ve been trying to eat less dirt, so I was at a loss for a way to revisit my summers.Then I remembered Edward Eager. Eager was a Harvard grad and a sophisticated, grown-up playwright. He never thought about writing children’s books until he had his own son. They quickly read through Eager’s favorites, E. Nesbit’s fairy stories and the Oz books, but then Eager couldn’t find anything else to read to his kid. So he decided to write the stories himself. Writer’s perogative.Half Magic is Eager’s first fairy tale. It’s about a group of four children, three girls and one boy, who recently lost their father. (Those unfortunate children who keep both their parents must resign themselves to utterly uninteresting lives.) Their mother can’t afford to take them to the country for vacation, and the kids are at a loss for a way to make their summer worthwhile. One day, while on their way to the library, the children find an old, worn nickel.After a few accidental mis-wishes and much discussion, the kids realize that it’s the coin they found that’s causing the magic–well, a little magic. Somehow, because of the age and wear of the coin, it will only grant half of each wish.The wishes, done by halves, bring the kind of adventures you only find in proper fairy tales. They have rules and consequences and the adventure is in learning how to manipulate the magic. Each child gets a day in charge of the wishing, and each day of wishes gets a few chapters to play out.Later on in the book, when the children understand the coin fully, the wishes get a bit boring–”I wish X times two” takes care of the guess work–but until then, there are several good mishaps. (My favorite is when they wish that the cat can talk. Have you ever met a cat who can half talk? That’s not a happy cat.)So, if you need a way to rekindle your vacation time, check out Edward Eager’s books. (Read the first chapter of HM here.) They’re fast, funny, charming reads. Most of them take place over the course of a few warm days, and they’ll all bring you back to the time when lightning bugs were only a fraction of your summer magic.Read if:You’re looking for the most appealing way possible to spend an afternoon with fractions.You can’t find anyone to play Ghost in the Graveyard with.You want a proper fairy tale.Disclaimer: I got this book and many others from my family’s close friend, Jeri. Every year for my birthday, Jeri would give me a big box of old books. (These would last me a couple of days, and then my reading habits would continue to be a financial burden for my parents, who raised me to buy books before food, and gladly kept me fed.) Jeri introduced me to lots of my favorites, and I’d be remiss not to mention her in a post about Edward Eager. If I didn’t give her credit, she’d threaten to tan my fanny.I reviewed this book on my blog here:

  • colleen
    2019-06-11 05:47

    oh, one of my all time favorites. i LOVE when they wish the cat could talk and since it is half-magic, the cat's every other word is "meow."i bought this (and the rest of the series) for my niece for christmas a couple of years ago, and i can't wait until my daughters are old enough to read it.

  • Spencer
    2019-06-06 09:01

    I read the first 2 chapters a day or two ago and was intrigued. Today I picked it up again and read the third chapter. It had me laughing out loud. So, I finished it today.This is, apparently, a children's book. Back in the day, children were considerably more well-read. They would have had to be, otherwise they would miss the multitude of references to other works of literature. For example there is the part that goes something like this (not quoting verbatim, but it goes something generally like this):"This," said Katharine, "is exactly what I would call a tulgey wood.""Don't!" said Martha. "What if something were to come whiffling through it?"And that was it. There was no further explanation. The story just went on. How many children do you know these days that have actually read any of Lewis Carroll's works?I suspect that this is one of those books that can be read and understood well enough by children, but can be appreciated much more by adults. I thought it was very clever. In fact, I would not be surprised if there were things in this book that I didn't catch.The pacing was good - at times it was slow and nothing particular seemed to happen (which was as it should be - after all, the children are having a dreadfully boring summer at first), but at other times! Bam, bam, bam, bam! One thing right after another!All in all, it was Good Stuff. I recommend it.

  • Hafsa Sabira
    2019-06-24 03:09

    The novel is about four siblings finding a magic coin which can grant their wishes,but only half of it. However,having a magic in life isn't that easy and the wishes must be carefully uttered,otherwise the summer adventures will turn into more than just adventures. Gradually the siblings have to learn to control the magic in their lives while the magic will transform them too.The book has this "The Little Peppers" and "The Little Women" vibe in the narrative. Not a fan of such writing style but this book is great for children stepping into the world of literature. I might have loved it if I read it during my childhood but well,it wasn't a bad reading either.

  • sj
    2019-06-24 02:54

    Originally posted here as part of the 30 Day Book Challenge.This one is easy. The Book That Made Me Fall In Love With Reading I don't even know what to say about this book. If you haven't read it, you should. If you have younger children, read it to them.Half Magic was written in the 50s about a family living in the 20s, so of course it's dated, but it's still as full of charm as ever. As an adult I catch little literary references that I missed when I was young, and that adds to my love of this book (more so than the others in the series).I was an only child until I was 10, so before that, reading about this family of brothers and sisters gave me a bit of a pang. I wanted siblings to have summertime adventures with. This was my favourite book to read during the summer (followed closely by Magic by the Lake, which follows the same siblings), curled up in some quiet nook at my grandparents' house. I found these books there one year and Nan told me I could have them. I don't know which of my dad's siblings they belonged to, but I think it was my aunt.I kind of never wanted to ask because it felt like they had appeared just for me. [shrug] I know, kids are silly.Confession:I still pick up coins and make double wishes on them, hoping that they'll come true.

  • Jackie
    2019-06-13 02:03

    Five children find a silver medallion, and discover that it grants wishes - but only half-way! Hilarity ensues. My favorite part is when they idly wish the cat could talk. And then, it sort of CAN talk, in kitty fashion. Hee!This is my favorite book by Eager, with lots of wit and humor. A classic of children's literature, but not in a stuffy way.

  • Chris
    2019-06-15 05:55

    Over the weekend, I read a lovely feature in Rain Taxi on Edward Eager's Magic series, which inspired me to start rereading them in ebook from my local library system. I'm finding ebook to be an excellent format for these, because it means I'll actually look up definitions - and Eager wasn't afraid of flexing his vocabulary.

  • Logan
    2019-06-11 08:14

    Listened to this on CD on a trip and Logan loved it. This is the first of Eager's magic books. He was a great fan of E. Nesbit and his books pay homage to her. A group of siblings finds a coin that grants wishes, but they realize quickly that they only get half what they wish for. Of course, even when they figure that out, it's still true that that wishes often don't turn out quite the way you planned! Some sexism, as it was written in the 50's about the 20's, but other than that, nice family entertainment. UPDATE: We rea-read this almost 3 years later (I read it aloud this time) and he didn't remember having read it before, when he was 5. He laughed so hard at the family cat being able to half talk that we had to stop so he could run downstairs to pee. He made me re-read that chapter to daddy the next day. Edward Eager never fails to satisfy, especially if you like E. Nesbit.

  • Melissa
    2019-06-07 08:09

    Reading this aloud to Beanie (7 yrs). She adores it, as did her sisters before her. Eager cracks me up: very wry humor and realistic characterizations—in a fantasy where unlikely events are occurring. It's a delicious combination.Written in the spirit of E. Nesbit's books, this is the tale of four siblings who find a magical charm that grants wishes—sort of. It only grants *half* a wish, which causes all sorts of confusion and misadventure.

  • Blake
    2019-06-12 09:48

    I was excited to read Half Magic because I thought it was a pretty cool idea for a book-- that these children receive magical powers but the magic only half works. While the kids end up on some neat adventures and the book does have some funny moments, overall it didn't really live up to my hopes. Part of it was that I didn't think the way the half magic played out was all that cool -- like when Jane is so mad that she wishes there was a fire (weird to begin with...) and a fire comes, but only it's only big enough to burn down a little girl's playhouse...???, that was a weird start... Anyway, I know that this book is meant for transitional readers and I think a lot of kids would enjoy it, but, I don't think I could recommend it to them. There's definitely some sexist stuff going on (the brother always knows best... the sisters (even the oldest) are pretty clueless; the mother's "heart's desire" is to be married and stay at home), and the thing that made me real uncomfortable was the weird racism-- the way the "evil Arab" gets depicted (both the writing and the drawing!) is not ok...not to mention the way the kids talk to him when they first see him...I read this for class and my prof made the point that she'd only recommend this to children if they had a parent or teacher who could explain the context in which the book was written (it was written in 1954) and how some of the things I mentioned are messed up.. but I kind of feel like, what's the point? so many other good children's books out there...

  • Lisa Vegan
    2019-05-26 07:57

    Loved this book in elementary school. This is my favorite book in the series and the one I remember best also. I love the “half magic” concept. Charming adventure story. Like the kids. Love the magic, especially the way it works in this book. Really imaginative.

  • Dacko
    2019-05-31 05:11

    Mnogo sam volela ovu knjigu kao klinka, a jednako se dopala i mom sinu. Brza, uzbudljiva, duhovita i nadasve podsticajna za samostalne maštarije čitalaca. Četvoro dece nalazi novčić koji ispunjava želje, ali samo polovično, uz pomoć te polučarolije dožive razne avanture i usput prihvate promenu u sopstvenoj porodici.

  • Bart Everson
    2019-06-20 09:14

    One of those rare children's books that not only lives up to one's memories from childhood, but actually improves with age. There are a lot of literary allusions that I'm sure I didn't get as a child, and the period details are more intriguing than ever.This book was written in the 1950s but set in the 1920s, in Toledo, Ohio. Thus, the time depicted is nearly a century ago, in the days of streetcars, sleeping porches, silent movies and Flinch (a card game). It's suffused with a subtle nostalgia that is not so much wistful as matter-of-fact.It's the tale of a magical summer in the lives of four young children. One might think Edward Eager is ripping off C.S. Lewis, but he's not. He makes no bones about the fact that he's ripping off E. Nesbit, just as Lewis did, only Eager gives credit where it's due, working his lovely tribute right into the fabric of the story.What I love most about this book is the beginning, in which we find a description of the long summer break, from the perspective of the children.The summer was a fine thing, particularly when you were at the beginning of it, looking ahead into it. There would be months of beautifully long, empty days, and each other to play with, and the books from the library.With a book of this vintage, one fears there will be elements of racism and sexism. Indeed, chapter three contains a depiction of a villainous Arab who appears to be a crude stereotype. This set my teeth on edge as I re-read it. But it proves to be a red herring, as the narrative takes a surprise turn. What looked like a racist caricature instead turns into a reflection on cultural appropriation and social justice. That's how I read it, anyhow.The sexism is a little more problematic. Three of the four protagonists are girls, but it's the boy who seems to know best. The fact that boys have privileges which girls don't is acknowledged, somewhat resentfully, from the girls' point of view, and this could open up an intriguing discussion of male privilege.Also, the story employs the tried-and-true Disney format of the family which is incomplete without a father. Yet, it's undoubtedly true that things would have been particularly rough for a working mother in that era.Come to think of it, I'm amazed Disney hasn't made this into a movie. I'm kind of glad though. This is a thoroughly literary book, rife with allusions to other literature and the joy of reading. Though it could easily be made into a movie, this is surely a story that deserves to be read.

  • Donald
    2019-06-01 08:51

    Edward Eager was my very first "favorite" author. I remember reading "Half Magic" and feeling a light turn on in my mind; my imagination was stimulated like never before. This is the first of a series of magical adventures involving two sets of children, who are intertwined biologically and magically (in Eager's later book "The Time Garden," the children of the characters in this book and "Magic By The Lake" would be saved by their own future children). Basically, this is the story of four children, in 1920s America, who come upon a magical coin that is so old only half of its magic is left. Thus, they learn to wish for double of whatever they want in order to make the magic work. Eager writes with charm and wit, and always holds the reader's attention. It's a shame that so little is known about Edward Eager. I've searched all over the internet, but almost nothing is known of his life beyond the fact that he was inspired by the legendary childrens' writer E. Nesbit, and went on to produce seven wonderful books of his own.

  • ABC
    2019-06-26 04:14

    This is about four siblings who find a magic charm that can fulfill wishes. There is a part about an Arab. He is supposed to be a not very nice guy. I felt I had to address this in my review. I did not like the way he was portrayed, yet at the same time we have to remember that this was written in the nineteen-fifties. It is unfortunate that this chapter is part of the book, but oh well.... Other than that I thought it was a cute book. I did like how this book refers to other famous books, particularly Nesbit's books. It helps to have read at least one Nesbit book before reading "Half Magic." You will definitely see where Eager got his inspiration.

  • quinnster
    2019-06-24 08:50

    When I was a child I read a book from the library. I sat and read in my room from cover to cover and when I got to the end I distinctly remember feeling as if I had just woken up from a dream. I was so engrossed in the story I felt like I had been with the children on their adventures and I was so sad it was over.But it wasn't. It was only the beginning. I spent the rest of my life like a drug addict searching for that same great high and it has been the best adventure ever. All thanks to Edward Eager and his amazing book.

  • Marianne
    2019-06-20 06:15

    Half Magic is a story about some kids who are having a very boring summer. That changes when they find a strange coin that gives you wishes you ask for. But soon they discover it gives them half only half what they ask for. So they have to ask for two x what they want. A great book to read any day!

  • Jessica
    2019-06-20 03:05

    A delightful old-fashioned adventure. Reminded me of an E. Nesbit book! Both the feel of family drama as well as magic, I'm shocked that I haven't read Edward Eager before now. As a kid I would have been all over this book! As an adult I'm excited to read more!

  • Amy
    2019-05-26 08:51

    Fun book, my children loved it!

  • Cruth
    2019-05-31 05:56

    Author: Edward EagerIllustrator: N M BodeckerFirst Published: 1954Introduction: by Jack Gantos, April 2004I am continually surprised at how engaged my 7yo becomes with older books. Here I am thinking the style and vocabulary, the settings and character expectations will fail to embrace her, and yet these are the books we *both* want just one more chapter.Sure, there are some fabulous contemporary books we love.But it is her willingness to breathe the classics which makes sharing them with her a privilege.We have, throughout 2013, shared many books. Some have been trivial, some deep. Occasionally they've been a chore to read. Often we could not put them down. And a very few times we DNF."Half Magic" falls into the could-not-put-down category.On a quiet day during the school holidays she wanted something to do. Really what she wanted was attention.So we picked up a "Half Magic".A book I had never read before and had no idea what to expect.2 hours later I refused to read another word until we'd at least had some lunch.You try reading out loud for a solid two hours. It isn't easy. And the intense concentration required makes separating yourself from the book rather difficult.But it was an absolute joy to read. She was engaged the whole time. Sure, she wriggled and squirmed, but she also asked questions and predicted.And weeks later she recalls the book during everyday conversation and discusses the idea of a "half wish" with her sister (who is jealous because we read when she was not around)."Half Magic" has sunk itself into her psyche and her play.It has become a part of her, as all good books should.A lovely entree to fantasy literature, and a teaser to books in her future.Book ReferencesThroughout the text, the children refer to other books. Not least "Enchanted Castle" which sparks their interest in magic.The Enchanted Castle - E. NesbitAlice in Wonderland - Lewis CarrollThe Little Match Girl - Hans Christian AndersonSherlock Holmes - Arthur Conan DoyleRobinson Crusoe - Daniel DefoePilgrim's Progress - John BunyanThe Boy's King Arthur - Sidney LanierThe Once and Future King - T H WhiteA Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court - Mark TwainFive Little Peppers and How They Grew - Margaret SidneyLittle Women - Louisa May AlcottHildegarde's Harvest - Laura E RichardsDavid Copperfield - Charles DickensThe Ingoldsby Legends - Richard Harris BarhamAge:Read aloud: 6+Read yourself: 9+References:Author on w'pedia: 9780786279524)-CR-

  • Jesse Bornemann
    2019-06-17 02:55

    Anytime I visit a bookstore, I spend a good 15 minutes browsing the children's section. More often than not, I succumb to nostalgia (and a hot wallet) and buy a title I remember fondly. On reckless days, I wind up carrying away something like Baby-sitters on Board!: Super Special #1. (I can't say I'm particularly proud of those days, but sometimes a girl just needs a fix.) Then, other afternoons, I take my time and select a classic I've almost forgotten. I never have a great recollection of these books--I only know that they excited me and set my imagination whirring. They were the types of books that tempted me to ignore the rules and beg for "five more pages before lights out? Pretty please?" This is how I came home with Half Magic.I mean, what kid doesn't like magic? Long before Harry Potter conjured a merchandising empire, four unassuming young siblings stumbled upon a strange silver coin on the sidewalk near their house. The coin's origin remains a mystery, because only adults ask silly questions like, "Well, how did that get there?" The important thing is, the coin grants wishes--by halves. So, if you wish for a million dollars, you'll get 500 thou. If you wish for a tropical vacation, you'll land atop a plastic palm tree on a miniature golf course. (The children don't wish for these things, of course. They're far more reasonable.)The premise of Half Magic promises clever humor along with adventure, and author Edward Eager doesn't disappoint. When littlest sister Martha wishes that the family's cat could talk, the cat begins speaking a sort of feline Spanglish--purrs and meows mixed in with discernible words. The cat's name, by the way, is Carrie Chapman Cat, honoring "a famous lady" often mentioned in the newspaper. (Nowadays, the cat would probably be called know, Cat Cora.) Like the Muppet movies, Half Magic sprinkles in a few inside jokes for grown-ups, but nothing condescending or contrived enough to detract from the story. If I had the children's mystic coin, I would wish for Mark, the lone male sibling, to be four times as interesting. Though Eager seems to have had progressive gender views--the children's mother is a single parent and newspaper journalist--poor Mark is still characterized mostly by his boyness. I was also a little disappointed in the depiction of a snooty, boring family up the street, who, upon my adult reading of the book, I now recognize as a rather mocking stereotype of liberals. (They're, gasp, vegetarians who study child psychology...not unlike, um, the writer of this review.) But Half Magic was still just as much fun as I expected it to be--or twice as much, if I'm holding the coin.

  • Elizabeth
    2019-06-10 08:12

    I loved this book as a kid, and I'm glad I came across it again now. It's a really *nice* book: there isn't the meanness that happens in some kid stories (okay, I guess I'm still traumatized from our reading of Matilda). I didn't have to explain anything too major or serious to Adriana. The kids are kind to one another and not particularly obnoxious. I was pleased by what came across to me as the benign neglect of parenting in the 1950s--the kids' mother works and there is a housekeeper who is something of their nemesis, but after doing their chores, the four kids are basically unsupervised, freeing them up for all kinds of adventures (and isn't that how it should be?). There were some parts that Adriana didn't fully understand--she doesn't know yet about King Arthur and the knights of the Round Table--but she was able to enjoy the magic, and she thought it was exciting. She was sad that we were finishing it tonight and was pleased to know that there are other books by the same author. Note: The Kindle version has annoying punctuation errors. Nothing serious, but it bugs me when they do that. And some of the illustrations don't work out quite right, although there are so few that's not a really big deal. Warning: If you are reading this aloud, most of the chapters are pretty long--it could take us 30 or 35 minutes to get through one--made it hard to read at bedtime on school nights sometimes.

  • Becky
    2019-05-31 05:53

    I enjoyed discovering Edward Eager's Half Magic. I had heard wonderful things about it, and I was not disappointed. Half Magic begins simply: "It began one day in summer about thirty years ago, and it happened to four children. Jane was the oldest and Mark was the only boy, and between them they ran everything. Katherine was the middle girl, of docile disposition and a comfort to her mother...Martha was the youngest, and very difficult." One day, Jane is given what she thinks is a nickel; she makes a wish and the wish comes true. It was no ordinary "nickel" as examination and experimentation shows. It is a small object with magical properties--to a degree. Or should I say percentage! It grants half of every wish. So you get what you wish--partly. So you've got to be doubly careful what you wish for. And wish for MORE than what you want. The children take turns wishing, they almost always do their wishing together--all share in the magical adventures. One wish inevitably leads to other wishes in an effort to "fix" what goes wrong and adjust the circumstances so it's just right. Even so, wishing can be TRICKY. But then again, it can work unintended magic: bringing a new love into their mother's life. I definitely enjoyed this one!!!

  • Kaethe
    2019-06-23 05:04

    Half Magic - Edward Eager, N. M. Bodecker (Illustrator) I know Eager was deliberately trying to recreate late Victorian children’s books of the Five Children and It school. And I totally get why he would want to do that: to bring the magic story up enough to be plausible to a new generation of readers who do not summer in the country. And who aren’t British. Admirable goals. But what I don’t understand is why he didn’t set his book in a contemporary period. It’s not explicit, but this is set rather earlier in the century than its publication date of 1954. It has that pre-WWII vibe you get in so many Twilight Zone and Ray Bradbury stories. Regardless, it’s a cute idea and a fun book, albeit riddled with stereotypes of other peoples. Probably not deliberately racist, just not deliberately NOT racist. If this is a deal-breaker, stay the hell away from the original Mary Poppins books, too.Library copy