Reviewed by By Ann M Mair
I received this Book of Magic as a beautiful paperback, well-illustrated cover, in clear print such as I was brought back to my childhood where I wanted to wash my hands before touching it. The Book Guild Ltd have done a good job in the production values. It would tempt any grandmother trying to encourage someone to read. But I get the impression that it would sit quietly on the shelf unused. It has no lead in to any toys or computer games to attract a child’s interest.
I got the impression that the author was steeped in the worlds of Harry Potter, but also the worlds of other authors, at one point I was finding reflections of several other children’s books. I got the feeling of an exam essay question answer, where the writer had put into his or her own words all the ideas needed to answer the question. Such as a messenger owl changed to a messenger mouse, a grouping of three persons replaced by four persons. There was a lack of originality. I have probably read much more widely than a child; they might not appreciate other similar work. Other adults may take pleasure in spotting themes so put together.
The shape of the book is the description of a term at a school, starting at the beginning of term and finishing at a return to previous existence. Between these points are several episodes stuck together in a series. Open ended stories looked like they could be continued in subsequent books. Our hero returns to a future as the victim of continual bullying, with only the next summer holidays to which to look forward. The book lacks a satisfactory resolution. The moral seems to be, look to your friends if you make any, rather than the security of family members.
I don’t think I would spend money on this book or its likely sequels. Perhaps it might be a library borrow if there was little else. Perfectly suitable as a godmother’s birthday gift, not likely to be read. Because someone else did well writing this genre doesn’t mean copyists will appeal. A pity as the writing is simple and clear. It lacks the wonder of words stretching the language. Written in a limited vocabulary. The book should have a shape which this one lacks.