THE TIME OF GREEN MAGIC, by Hilary McKay, Margaret K. McElderry Books, July 28, 2020, Hardcover, $17.99 (ages 8-12)
A new family finds its footing in Hilary McKay’s The Time of Green Magic.
When Abi’s father marries Max and Louis’s mom, their families start over together. Abi suddenly finds herself the middle child, expected to share far too much — especially with grubby little Louis. Then they move into an eerie, ivy-covered house, big enough for all of them.
But for the children, strange things start to happen in that house. Abi reads alone, and finds herself tumbling so deep into books, they almost seem real. Louis summons comfort from outdoors, and a startling guest arrives — is it a cat or something else? Max loses his best friend…and falls in love. Meanwhile, Louis’s secret visitor is becoming much too real. Now Abi, Max, and Louis must uncover the secrets of their new home — for there can be danger in even the most beautiful magic. —Synopsis provided by Margaret K. McElderry Books
The Time of Green Magic came out in the UK in 2019. This review is for the American edition, which just came out.
The Time of Green Magic celebrates all that’s good — and challenging — about growing up. Through my adult eyes, the magic Abi, Louis and Max experience is that of imagination, stimulated by the fantastical house they live in. Through the eyes of a child, I think the magic will be just that — magic.
I think that’s why author Hilary McKay’s writing appeals to so many children and adults. It asks us to open our minds and consider the possibilities. And, as in this case, readers are given room to come to their own conclusions.
Consider the varying ages of McKay’s protagonists. When their parents marry, Max is 13, Louis 6, and Abi 11. Their ages have a direct impact on their experiences. These age variances, as well as personality differences, create a layered experience that is engrossing and enjoyable.
The Time of Green Magic is not a particularly dynamic or fast read. Instead, it’s one you settle into; take your time reading. It’s a calm book that will probably appeal to more attentive readers.
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