Saturday, November 19, 2011

Book Review: Magical Mischief, by Anna Dale (Bloomsbury, 2011)

Recommended for ages 10-13

Magic has taken up residence in Mr. Hardbattle's bookshop, and it's causing him to lose business. He hasn't got the heart to evict the magic, so he decides, with some help from his young friend Arthur and the overbearing Miss Quint, to find a nice home for the magic. While Mr. Hardbattle is away seeking out locations, though, Miss Quint gets herself into some magical trouble when she wishes for people to talk to - and they show up, pulled straight from the books! Now Miss Quint and Arthur are left with a huge mess to clean up, and when Mr. Hardbattle returns, things have gone out of control. With the magic out of control, the threesome have to figure out how to make things right without getting the authorities involved.

Magical Mischief is a fun middle grade read for boys and girls alike. The bookshop setting provides a comfortable, homey setting and invests the reader in the location as much as the characters. The narrative tends to ramble along at points, particularly when it comes to Miss Quint's bumbling which comes off more often as irritating than endearing. The ending neatly ties up loose ends and provides an overall satisfying read that fantasy fans in particular will enjoy.

Anna Dale is a popular middle-grade fantasy author in the UK and US. Her website offers links to her books, author info, and news. There are several "magical mischief" websites on the Web, but none relate to this book; Bloomsbury's book detail page for Magical Mischief offers book reviews and links to other books by Ms. Dale.

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