LIFE MAGIC by Melrose Cooper


Age Range: 9 - 11
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 Predictable as a sunrise, this sequel to Life Riddles (1993) explores the emotional effects of seeing AIDS kill a beloved relative. Sixth grader Crystal is feeling low, especially since sister Janelle is already a published author and best friend Shawna stars in dance recitals. The news that Uncle Joe is flying in cheers her; when he arrives, he seems to be the same, still dashing out to make snow angels with her, but as months go by he loses weight and energy, and finally tells Crystal about his AIDS. Crystal wonders why she feels so numb; at last she explodes at a class bully, who tearfully reveals that his mother had AIDS, too. ``Enemies become friends paired when simultaneous feelings are shared,'' summarizes her aunt, a librarian with an endless fund of aphorisms. When Joe dies (offstage), Crystal suddenly discovers that she's inherited his artistic talent, and sees, out her window one morning, a snow angel with no footprints around it. Although this spans the gap--strictly in terms of reading level--between picture books like Leslea Newman's Too Far Away To Touch (1995) and the still-growing phalanx of pre-teen and YA novels, the unlikely plot, superficial character development, and near-total lack of information about the disease make it a shaky bridge, at best. (Fiction. 9-11)

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1996
ISBN: 0-8050-4114-1
Page count: 116pp
Publisher: Henry Holt
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15th, 1996


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