Classic Literature. Fantasy. Juvenile Fiction. Juvenile Literature. It all begins with a strange coin on a sun-warmed sidewalk. Jane finds the coin, and because she and her siblings are having the worst, most dreadfully boring summer ever, she idly wishes something exciting would happen. And something does: Her wish is granted. Or not quite. Only half of her wish comes true. It turns out the coin grants wishesâ??but only by half, so that you must wish for twice as much as you want. Wishing for two times some things is a cinch, but other doubled wishes only cause twice as much trouble. What is half of twice a talking cat? Or to be half-again twice not-here? And how do you double your most heartfelt wish, the one you care about so much it has to be perfe
In the beginning the story is a simple tale of a magic charm which grants wishes in halves. By the end of the
The writing reminded me of Roald Dahl, which is the highest compliment I can give. The author portrays the kids so honestly. They were neither angels nor devils, they were just children. At times they were selfish or silly or scared, but all of those emotions rang true.
In one section (ch. 6) Eager describes the four categories that adults fall into when they are around children. Itâ€™s a brilliant description thatâ€™s both insightful and funny. Eager found that perfect balance of creating a wonderful story, while at the same time slipping in some life lessons.
Hereâ€™s a few great lines â€¦
â€śAll of the four children hated Charlie Chaplin, because he was the only thing grown-ups would ever take them to.â€ť
â€śOne of the least admirable things about people is the way they are afraid of whatever they donâ€™t understand.â€ť
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.
This is a humorous book that I would
The setting is pretty relevant to this and the author does a good job of setting it up. As far as where the kids live, it's not really important, but they travel to a desert and to medieval times and an old gray, dreary house. The author uses really descriptive language to express what the children are seeing and doing and when they are in time. It helps keep the reader engaged and there is no confusion as to what the children are doing or where they are doing it.
Age appropriateness- Intermediate, Middle
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.
'"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..."'
The characters in Half Magic are well developed and delightful. The children are typical siblings that get along at times and quarrel at other times. Since the book was first published in 1954 it has an old fashioned feel to it. Even still I think children today will find the characters to be believable and will be able to relate to the siblings.
The story is logical and consistent within the framework Eager has established and for any child and even adults the story is believable. This is a fun book that is sure to get a few chuckles out of any child. A great family read for children of all ages.
Suggested grade level: 3-6.
Suggested grade level: 3-5.
Review: This author tries to create a science fiction novel by having children make a wish off of a special rock and then having them realize that they need to make their wishes twice as much in order for them to come all the way true. I did not feel that this book was exactly
Media: Pencil, pen