Our local, independent used bookstore has a birthday club, and both of my kids signed up for it before they had to close the list. Each year near their birthdays, one of the owners sends them a book and a $5 gift card in a packing envelope she decorates herself with beautiful drawings. We fill out a card every few years with some of their favorite books, and she picks out a book just for them based on what she knows about their reading tastes.
Half Magic is the book that came in the mail for Felix this year. Skye had read it several years earlier and remembered enjoying it, so they both requested it as our next read-aloud. What a lovely, magical book! We all enjoyed it tremendously.
As you can see from the above quote, the book is definitely a fun one for book lovers. Eager thought E. Nesbit (who I have yet to read) was the greatest children's author of all time, and he admires other books, too, like The Wizard of Oz. He references these directly and indirectly in his own stories. In the first chapter of Half Magic, we learn that this summer, Jane, Mark, Katharine, and Martha have read all of E. Nesbit's books but one, and they are finally able to check out her last one from the library, The Enchanted Castle. They read it aloud together over the next two days, and upon closing the book, Martha, the youngest, asks:
"Why don't things like that ever happen to us?"Don't be so sure, Mark! we all thought on reading this. Just look at the title of the book you are in!
"Magic never happens, not really," said Mark, who was old enough to be sure about this.
Of course, the children soon find some magic, and proceed to experiment with it. Each chapter describes a magical adventure they have, and I love Eager's chapter titles: How It Began, What Happened to Their Mother, What Happened to [insert each child's name here], How It Ended, and How It Began Again.
Eager's writing style reminded me immediately of Jeanne Birdsall and her Penderwicks books, which Skye and I love. After reading Half Magic, I think Felix may be ready for them soon, too. Goody! Jeanne is definitely a fan of both Eager and Nesbit; she posts quotes from both of them on the pages of her website, including this one from Eager's Seven-Day Magic: