Magic in the Park

Magic in the Park

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Magic in the Park
Author(s)
Age Range
8+
Release Date
January 28, 2014
ISBN
978-0449813768
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Jen Mace and her new friend Mike Steward learn that magic can happen when you least expect it. And though it is very exciting, it can also be dangerous. Jen has just moved to Brooklyn. She misses the woods and fields of her old home. But while walking in Prospect Park one day, she meets Mike. Together they are fascinated with the older gentleman who is always surrounded by birds and seems to appear and disappear quite suddenly. For decades, Ruth Chew's books have enchanted early readers with the thrill of magic in their own lives. Now these magical tales are once again available to cast their spell on a new generation of fans.

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Overall rating 
 
3.5
Plot/Characters/Writing Style 
 
4.0  (1)
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable) 
 
3.0  (1)
Overall rating 
 
3.5
Plot/Characters/Writing Style 
 
4.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable) 
 
3.0

Glad to see reprints!

Jennifer wishes her family hadn't moved from Carbondale to Brooklyn, because she misses her friends and being able to play outside. When she ventures forth from her apartment on Ocean Parkway to Prospect Park, she sees a man feeding a lot of birds and an unusual tree. When she goes back, she doesn't see the tree, but she meets Mike, who manages to fall into a nearby pond. She helps him, and the two become friends. Mike has also noticed that the tree never seems to be in the same place two days in a row, and also feels that the man feeding the birds is unusual. When the two cross the pond to find the tree one day, they find that it holds bigger secrets than they could ever imagine-- they get stuck underground, and eventually, turn into birds! While this is exciting, they also know that it is dangerous, and try to figure out how and why this occurs, and what part the old man has in this.

There are many reasons that I loved these books as a child, and why children today might find them even more enthralling than I did. Jennifer and Mike are allowed to run all over Brooklyn by themselves, even though Mike has shown that he is apt to fall into the pond that has broken bottles and tin cans at the bottom! There's always a tasty snack (usually warm cookies!) waiting at home whenever they manage to roll in, and they manage to get to experience magic without the adults (with the exception of an especially understanding grandmother) being any the wiser. These easy to read books are great for strong first grade readers, but also amusing to struggling middle school readers.

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