Book Review: Magic or Not?

Magic or Not? by Edward Eager

Magic or Not? (Tales of Magic, #5)
by Edward EagerN.M. Bodecker (Illustrator), Quentin Blake (Cover Illustrator)
4 out of 5 stars
I loved rereading this children’s classic! When twins Laura and James move to the country, they find an old wishing well, and begin to test the magic waters with their wishes. The wishes seem to come true, but in such regular, mundane ways that the children can’t be sure… was it magic or not? The eccentric Lydia comes blasting into their adventures, and their neighbor Kip joins in the fun.

The wishing well definitely appears to be influencing their adventures, but only when they wish something good for others, never when they wish for themselves. So the four friends attempt a quest of good deeds, with mixed results when the disgustingly spoiled rich kid, Gordy, begins to tag along and pester them. Can the children accept the strange directions that the wishing well sends them, or will they draw the line at including the nasty Gordy in their group?

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Book Review: Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH

Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH by Robert C. O'Brien

Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH (Rats of NIMH, #1)
by Robert C. O’Brien
5 out of 5 stars
Mrs. Frisby’s son is sick in bed, and cannot be moved. But the farmer is coming to plow up the field where they live as soon as the frost has left the ground. Mrs. Frisby goes to the rats to ask for help, and discovers the secret past of the rats of NIMH.

I just love this book more and more every time I read it. It’s so interesting to find out about the rats and how they live and their past history. The whole world-building of the society of all the animals who live around the farm and in the woods is fascinating. I love stories about mice because they are so little. Who doesn’t love a good under-dog story?

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Book Review: Island of the Aunts

Island of the Aunts by Eva Ibbotson

Island of the Aunts
by Eva Ibbotson
5 out of 5 stars

The aunts need help, so they decide to kidnap some children and train them up. But these will have to be special children; children who can be trusted with the greatest secret of the island.

Fantastic and imaginative! I loved it! I had me gasping in surprise, and laughing and crying and laughing some more.

Update: Reading this the second or third time is just as enjoyable and magical.

I love all the weird and wacky characters! The aunts are just hilarious, Minette is utterly sweet, and Fabio is such a brave little fellow.

I love all the magical creatures, the mermaids, and selkies, and other wild creatures. It’s all so imaginative and interesting. The details make it all feel real and exciting.

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Book Review: The Secret of Platform 13

The Secret of Platform 13 by Eva Ibbotson

The Secret of Platform 13
by Eva IbbotsonSue Porter (Illustrator)
4 out of 5 stars


The baby Prince of a magical land has been stolen in London, and the King and Queen must wait until the portal between the worlds opens again in 9 years before they can rescue their son. They send a rescue team of oddballs; an old wizard, a fey, an ogre, and a young hag. With the help of some nice ghosts, they locate the Prince, but he is not at all what they had expected.

Wonderfully inventive and funny! I love this book more every time I read it!

The world-building is imaginative and weird and wild. The characters are interesting and all so different. There are a lot of supporting characters with hilarious personalities, and the main characters are all beautifully vivid.

I really love the way the writing can paint a striking scene in just a few words, really drawing the reader into the story. The plot has all these funny twists and turns that really capture your attention. It’s such a delight to read!

Book Review: The Dragon in the Library

The Dragon in the Library by Louie Stowell

The Dragon in the Library
by Louie StowellDavide Ortu (Illustrator)
5 out of 5 stars

Kit doesn’t like to read. She can’t sit still. She would much rather be climbing trees or playing with matches or other dangerous things. Her friends, Alita and Josh, convince her to visit the library with them. Kit discovers magical properties within the books that propel her and her friends into a wizarding adventure.

I loved this book from start to finish! The characters, the plot, the world-building, the magic; everything is wonderful!

I liked that the plot is simple and straightforward, but has a few little surprises that keep the story fresh and exciting. The writing style is absolutely hilarious! There are so many cute bits of dialogue and funny scenes that had me laughing.

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Book Review: Mothstorm

Mothstorm by Philip Reeve

Mothstorm (Larklight, #3)
by Philip Reeve (Goodreads Author)
4 out of 5 stars

A mysterious cloud is approaching the solar system from deep space, and of course only Arthur and Myrtle can solve the mystery and save the British Empire and the nine planets (along with some asteroids and dwarf planets). They are joined by our favorite old characters and a few new ones, as they travel between the planets to fight for Queen and country.

I loved everything about this book! The plot, the characters, the hilarious writing, the world-building, the mystery, the adventure, and every single dramatic chapter all kept me reading for hours on end. This is one of those books where there isn’t a good place to stop reading. You just have to keep going through the next chapter and the next.

It’s wonderful to see how the entire trilogy is wrapped up beautifully in this last book. The plot comes together really well to solve problems and answer questions that have been hanging since the first book. I love how each thread of the story resolves into this great ending!

I am amazed at how imaginative this fantasy world is. The aliens and their strange cultures are all so intricate and well-formed, right down to the diseases, commerce, and vegetation of each planet. I love that it is set in a steam-punk 1850s British Empire full of space travel that has expanded to Venus, Mars, and Jupiter. It’s such an interesting solar system, and each planet has it’s own history and people who live there.

The writing style is very humorous with that sort of dry humor that I love. I was delighted at how some of the characters are doing their best to have good manners and polite modesty in the middle of their outlandish adventures. We may be about to be blown to smithereens by space pirates, but let us not forget proper courtesy and decorum. The whole book is hilarious!

The characters are really varied and interesting. They come from all sorts of backgrounds, and I loved the character development for so many of them. They change and grow and learn from one another.

Myrtle has some excellent development as she learns that she is stronger and more resourceful than she thought. She does NOT faint every time something dangerous happens, as a properly-educated young lady should do. Instead she begins to take little steps towards saving herself, instead of waiting for a hero to rescue her as a demure young lady should do. And through those little steps she moves on to bigger steps, until finally she gains enough confidence in her own abilities to have the courage to jump into the fray and save everyone.

I only wish there were more books in this series!

Comic Review: We Found a Monster

We Found a Monster by Kirk Scroggs

We Found a Monster
by Kirk Scroggs
4 out of 5 stars

Casey writes in his art journal to tell us the story of how monsters keep finding him! There’s a vampire in the attic, and gremlins in the basement. Frankenstein keeps recharging his brain batteries and making the electric bill go up. A huge cephalopod lives in the kiddie pool in the backyard. When a new girl arrives at school, Casey finds out that she is interested in monsters too. And there is a new pink monster in town.

I love the colorful art style! It really draws the reader into the story. The colors are so bright and fun. I love the funny expressions on the characters’ faces. Some of the sketches are just pencil drawings, and some are filled-in with color. It really looks like someone’s journal with text and illustrations thrown all over the page.

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