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Posts Tagged ‘Magic’

The Smidgens Crash Land by David O’Connell. Illus. Seb Burnett. Pub. Bloomsbury, 2022

September 3, 2022 Comments off

A Smidgen is a small human like creature, no more than 7 centimeters tall and they live in the spaces that humans don’t know about and their culture is much like ours. Smidgens keep their existence secret and there are two clans of known Smidgens and a suspected third clan.

This is the second book in an easy to read, short chapter adventure story.

Gafferty Sprout is a risk taking adventurous girl who in the first book acquired a knife made from the shard of the Mirror of Trokanis, a magic mirror that has powers to keep away ghosts for one thing. humans and other Smidgens know about it and want it.

When a rascal of a Smidgen, Crumpeck, steals the magic knife and sets out to find the suspected third Smidgen clan in a golf course the action starts. Gafferty and her friend Will set after Crupeck in the human world where there are cats and other dangerous things to contend with. Will they be successful? Read it and see.

Well illustrated by Seb Burnett, the cat is a gem.

Not the last from this series. Appealling characters and good values. Lots of adventure.

Neon’s Secret Universe by Sibeal Pounder, illus. by Sarah Warburton. Pub. Bloomsbury, 2022

August 26, 2022 Comments off

This is the latest big thing from the UK and is designed to lure your reluctant juniors into reading. Good stuff.

Neon Gallup is three days short of her tenth birthday when her parents decide to their lives and neon’s by moving from Paris to Bunty somewhere in America and open a restaurant called Rats. Rats actually come up quite frequently in this story there is even a ghost rat. Neon is reluctant to go, she is going through an identity crisis and has decided to dress only in black and get away from colours.

Things change when she sees a strange mark on the window sill of her new bedroom and inside the cubby hole it conceals she finds a lipstick container which when used on the wall of her room, opens a portal into a magic world of unicorns.

The lipstick is the only key to this magic world which is colourful and is inhabited by unicorns which are nothing like the variety that the world knows. neon meets a friendly unicorn called Moya who shows her the ropes in this new world. But she cannot leave and is set a task that will change her attitudes and life.

Easy to read with a map of the Secret Universe of the unicorns. Check it out and see it will broaden your imagination.

The Raven Heir by Stephanie Burgis. Pub. Bloomsbury, 2021

September 29, 2021 Comments off

The kingdom of Raven is split into rival factions with each faction trying to take the throne of Raven. Civil war has reigned, the countryside has been ravaged, armies wander the land and people are living in fear and misery.

But there is hope as it is known that the heirs to the throne are hiding out and that finding the true heir will mend the split crown and return the kingdom to peace. Who is the true heir that is the question?

Triplets Giles, Cordelia and Rosalind have lived in the shelter of their mothers magic in a house in the enchanted forest. They all have magical powers which have been undeveloped as their mothers magic was all powering. When an army discovers their hiding place and takes the triplets mother hostage along with their elder brother the triplets in their ignorance are left to fend for themselves.

Cordelia, with her ability to change into any creature she wants leads the way and together they find out secrets and history that their mother should have told them. One of them is the true heir but which one?

It becomes a mission to find the broken crown on Mount Corve but danger lurks everywhere. Check it and see.

Short chapters big font and writing that invites you in and keeps you guessing plus in Cordelia a character that you fully relate to. very good fantasy for primary and intermediate readers

The Rise of the Remarkables Bk2 The Thaumagician’s Revenge by Gareth Ward. Pub. Walker books, 2021.

August 26, 2021 Comments off

The thrilling sequel to Brasswitch and Bot a title reviewed elsewhere on this blog and not the end of this saga.

In the first book Wrench discovers her talents as a Brasswitch which allow her to mentally get inside a machine and close it down. Very important if you are at war with machines. She has embraced magic as well and was taught to hone her skills by a boy Plum who has let the side down and become one of the enemy after an enormous battle called the Minster Schism which Wrench helped win.

Set in the beautiful city of York Wrench, her robot sidekick Bot, friend Octavia and new Brasswitch, Vexanna, belong to a group of counter revolutionaries or Regulators called Thirteen. They are to battle Remarkables who came through a Rupture above York made by the old Gods, accidentally, who thought they were opening a gateway to heaven. Through this Rupture came good and bad Remarkables or creatures with alarming body shapes and powers.

Not all Remarkables are bad but the leader of a rival group fighting the Remarkables, Flemington, hates Thirteen and wants to eliminate all Remarkables. The battles are riveting and bring in all sorts of technology with a Victorian era characteristic, hence the title steam punk.

Wrench has problems though. She still wants to get to the bottom of why her parents were killed and she wants to confront Plum whom she was close to but now realises he has “the innocence of a child pulling legs off a crane fly”. They are now enemies.

After a series of battles in the brick works and the museum Femington has procured a Cabal Inquisition, which is to look at all the action to date and pass judgement on Wrench and Bot. The Thirteen are in danger and the bad Remarkables are still a huge threat. .

On top of all this Wrench appears to be losing her powers and has certainly lost her confidence. What has Vexanna got to do with this and can she recover before it is too late? Read this action packed novel and see what happens.

The Travelling Bookshop Bk1: Mim and the Baffling Bully by Katrina Nannestad. Illus. Cheryl Orsine. Pub. ABC Books imprint HarperCollins, 2021.

August 10, 2021 Comments off

Mim her brother Nat, parrot Coco, horse Flossy and father live in a travelling bookshop. When it crosses over the border into Holland every book automatically translates into the Dutch language and when the caravan towed by Flossy stops in a suitable it too changes into something else, something akin to the Tardis in Doctor Who. Outside it looks small but inside it is something different. Read it and find out how and what.

While camping Mim meets a new friend, Willemina who is sad because she is being bullied but Gerda a girl who seems to have everything. This is the main plot in this first book of a planned series by Australian author Katrina Nannestad.

If you believe that reading is magic and I do, then this a book for you and for all newly confident readers particularly girls but not exclusively so. The illustrations by Cheryl Orsini are complimentary to the written text.

Easy to read with good family values and characters boith human and animal that are appealing.

Amari and the Night Brothers by B.B. Alston. Pub. Hardy Grant, 2021.

April 16, 2021 Comments off

Amari is a black girl from the housing projects who has a destiny that she doesn’t understand. She is used to living the hard way but has good attitudes and is loyal and brave. Her older brother Quinton has gone missing in a magical world and she is determined to find him.

Quinton is a magician which nobody knows about and he sends her a package in which is a pair of glasses that give Amari a virtual reality show telling her about the dangerous world Quinton has got caught up in and a plea to not try to find him.

Amari follows clues from the glasses and is led to a magical world that exists in the same space as the real world but only few people can see it. A bit like J.K. Rowlings world of Magical Beasts and Where to Find Them.

Amari enters the world of the Bureau of Supernatural Affairs an organisation that ensures that supernaturals have a safe place to meet. Amira is tested for her suitability to work for the department and surprisingly learns that she is a magician and related to magicians that have caused havoc in the past. She learns too that her brother Quinton was also a magician and has disappeared while looking for and elusive and dangerous group called the Night Brothers.

Amari applies to become a member of the Dept of Supernatural Investigations run by the van Helsings relatives of the Van Helsings that trapped Dracula. How will she get on? Will she find Quinton? and who are the Night Brothers.

Exciting fantasy for lovers of this genre.

Pages & Co Bk. 3 Tilly and the Map Stories by Anna James. Pub. HarperCollins, 2020.

December 21, 2020 Comments off

The magic of reading is to the fore in this third part about Tilly and Oscar who are bookwanderers. That is the skill of being able to enter into a book and relate to the characters and the action that happens.

Librarians are a power crazy lot, at least in my experience, and the Underwood siblings are trying to squash bookwandering by binding source editions in the British Underlibrary. This has an effect in other countries like France and USA and stops book wandering unless the source edition of a novel is kept outside of Britain.

Tilly and Oscar have some clues to a theory that a supreme power called the Archivists, who are elusive, have the ability to halt the shenanigans of the Underwood’s. The clues lead them to a book in the Library of Congress in Washington so off they go in secrecy to meet Orlando and Jorge at the library. Adventure and treachery await them.

Well written with the characters of Oscar and Tilly having good values and personal character. My favourite part is when they bookwander into Midsummer Night’s Dream and meet Titania, Oberon, Puck and Bottom. Should they stop the love potion being given to Titania? Read it and see. We also meet Shakespeare himself. Where there’s a Will there’s a way.

Fans of the series will love it and it leaves a few plot lines open for another book.

Starfell. Willow Moss and the Forgotten Tale by Dominique Valente.

July 12, 2020 Comments off

StarfellStarfell. Willow Moss and the Forgotten Tale by Dominique Valente. Pub. HarperCollins, 2020.

Its good to read children’s fantasy again and this is very suitable for primary and intermediate readers especially girls but not exclusively so.

It is set in a double sided land. Starfell is on top and contains such thought provoking places as the Mists of Mitlaire, the Lake of the Undead and Wisperia a place where you are never safe especially if you are a witch.

The bottom land and the dark reverse of Wisperia and Starfell is Netherfell. The answers to all Starfell’s problems lie in Netherfell which has the answer to the Forgotten tale.

Willow Moss is a witch with the talent of being able to find lost things but her magic has struck problems and things keep disappearing. Willow and her Kobold, a cat like creature with the habit of saying “my greedy aunt” set off with Willow’s broom stick Whisper to find a friend, Nolin Sometimes who has sent Willow a distress call. On the way she meets a boy called Sprig who can turn into a raven.

Their travels will take them into Wisperia through the Mists of Mitlaire to the Netherfell where they learn of the Forgotten Tale. Complicated in parts but the action keeps happening.

There is a map at the start so you can follow Willows journey. Willow is a good role model.

The Tales of Beedle the Bard by J.K. Rowling, illus. Chris Riddell

October 23, 2018 Comments off

beedle the bardThe Tales of Beedle the Bard by J.K. Rowling, illus. Chris Riddell. Pub. Bloomsbury, 2018.

Witches and wizards have been reading these tales since the 15th Century but I have just read them in this illustrated edition that has been created for J.K. Rowling’s charity Lumos. I feel privileged to have received this copy because the tales are told in large hardback with large print and superbly illustrated by Chris Riddell.

The five tales are on the weird side as you would expect and they really are modeled on Muggle cautionary tales. Basically they are what not to do or attempt to do with magic. If you are going to be mean, try to grab power, deceive anyone with magic or bring someone back from the dead, then these tales will deter you I can bet you that.

Each tale is accompanied by notes of historical origins of the tale and comments by Prof Dumbledore on the tales and all brilliantly illustrated. I loved The Warlocks Hairy heart but they are all good.

If you are a big fan of Harry Potter then this is essential to get, even if you are not this is a volume well worth getting. Your kids will love you for it. I am giving it to my granddaughters.

The Rogues: Accidental Heroes by Lian Tanner.

October 17, 2017 Comments off

rogues accidentalThe Rogues: Accidental Heroes by Lian Tanner. Pub. Allen&Unwin, 2017.

From the pen of the author who wrote The Keepers and The Hidden series comes book one in a new fantasy series The Rogues. It is very good and you must read it.

Duckling is a young girl who has been used by her grandfather lord Rump to pull off many a fraudulent scheme to survive. Now they are at the city of Berren which surrounds a huge castle called The Stronghold. It was built on a magicalĀ  rock called the Grimstone and is inhabited by the rulers the Margrarve and Margravine of Neuhalt.

The Stronghold is protected by magic created by the Bayam of the magical people the Saaf, no-one can leave the Stronghold although people can get in.

The people of Berren have made magic illegal although evidence of it is all around them which they refuse to believe. They call it witchery and to believe it is considered disloyal and punishable by death.

Into the story come Duckling, her Grandfather and an ordinary farm boy called Pummel. Grandfather has heard of a plot to kill the Heir to the Margrave of the Stronghold and involves Duckling and Pummel to assist in stopping it. Or is he?

Duckling is quite devious herself and Pummel is as innocent as the day is long. They both discover they have magic powers but can they work together and prevent the assassination of the heir by a cruel and powerful baddie called the Harshman.

Read the novel and find out. Excellent characterisation by Lian Tanner, Pummel and Duckling will identify with a lot of children of primary and intermediate age, and of course this is only part one.