Thursday, March 01, 2012

Book #9: Magic by the Lake

Next came a horrid interval of unloading and unpacking, but few would wish to hear about that. Suffice it to say that at last the four children emerged in their new bathing suits, and the lake was waiting. ~Edward Eager, Magic by the Lake, pp. 6-7

After reading Half Magic aloud with my kids, they really wanted to read the next of Edward Eager’s tales. After checking out a few websites to see which one is considered “Book 2,” I learned that we could either go with Knight’s Castle, which was published next, or Magic by the Lake, which is a continuation of the story of the four children in Half Magic. I knew the kids had grown attached to this family, so I went with Magic by the Lake.

Eager’s language is wonderful, so wonderful that I must quote him again. The family has rented a cottage for the rest of the summer, thanks to the wonderful Mr. Smith, who understands children so well. Eager explains:

After the half magic was over, they wondered if they’d ever have any magic adventures again, and in the book about it it says it was a long time before they knew the answer. And here it was only three weeks later, and already Katharine was ready for more. But if you think three weeks isn’t a long time for four children to be without magic, I can only say that it seemed a long time to them. (p. 7)

A few of my kids’ favorite things:
~ The magical turtle, who brings the magic of the lake and sometimes (grudgingly) helps the children control it.
~ The children’s summer adventures. It reminded my kids of their vacations at the lake!
~ The ending, which holds a nice and satisfying surprise.

There were a few parts that I think scared my seven-year-old. By the middle of the book, he was starting to ask, “Everything will be okay, right?” In the book, the youngest of the children, Martha, is often afraid of the magic, and it does get a little scary. The chapter titled “The Island” was especially harrowing, not to mention being uncomfortably full of stereotypes. (I edited the language of that chapter as I read, but it was tough!)

But overall, they enjoyed this book, and we definitely plan to continue with Eager and read Knight’s Castle, which I’ve heard great things about.  And my kids are excited to learn more about the mysterious children that these four siblings meet on one of their adventures.  Eager gives us a sly hint that we will find out more about them in another of his books.

Be sure to check out the other Read Aloud Thursday posts at Hope Is the Word.


Books4Learning said...

Looks like an interesting series!

Beth said...

My kids liked Magic by the Lake, but I thought a few things went over their head. I personally got a big kick out of Knights Castle. It totally messes with the story of Ivanhoe in a pretty funny way.

Amy @ Hope Is the Word said...

We haven't read this one yet, though we did enjoy Half Magic. I'll have to get back to these!

Michelle said...

We have Magic by the Lake in our "to read" stack. Thanks for the heads up on "The Island".