MAGIC BY THE BOOK by Nina Bernstein


by & illustrated by
Age Range: 9 - 12
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A mildly engaging and very bookish fantasy, with a rich undercurrent of sibling lore, rivalry and affection. Like Diane Duane’s So You Want to Be a Wizard (1983), these children check out a book that has certain powers and, like Roderick Townley’s The Great Good Thing (2001), they find themselves actually in the stories they’re reading. The first adventure finds Anne, 11, and Emily, nine, in Sherwood Forest, transplanted from their home in New York. Their parents write for a great metropolitan newspaper, and have filled the children with old stories and ballads, so the girls know how their story should end and how to help Robin rescue them from the Sheriff of Nottingham. The second adventure belongs to their small brother Will, whose love of insects and difficulty in learning to read bring him to a quest that’s part Borrowers and part Jack story. In the third, a scene from War and Peace finds all three children transported from their parents’ summer garden party to a winter fest in Russia, where they get to save the world, more or less. Graceful language and pretty interplay between the three children and between their loving, distracted parents adds interest. (Fiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: March 16th, 2005
ISBN: 0-374-34718-2
Page count: 240pp
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15th, 2005


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