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Waiting for the Magic

Review

Waiting for the Magic

written by Patricia MacLachlan, illustrated by Amy June Bates

When William and Elinor’s dad leaves the family, their mom comes up with an unusual solution, which is to get a pet (makes that pets). They end up buying four dogs and a cat, and these animals become the thread that keeps the family together. Not only are they loyal and protective over the children and their mom, they can speak to those who believe in magic. Four-year-old Elinor and her grandparents can hear them. William doesn’t believe in magic, nor does he give it much thought. Grandma says that the young, old and brave feel magic, so she muses that William must be between the young and the old, or perhaps he isn’t brave enough yet.

William isn’t feeling much magic after his dad leaves. In fact, he bottles up his emotions most of the time, believing that he needs to protect his mom and sister from the hurt of a broken-up family. His pets worry for him; they know that he needs to speak honestly about his feelings, but that he’s too afraid of hurting those around him.

When it’s revealed that Mom is pregnant, William asks if she has told Dad yet. She hasn’t, and this makes him angry. He tells her that it’s not fair to keep something like this a secret. This act of bravery helps him hear his dogs talk to him.

Soon Dad returns home. While Elinor is delighted, William is angry that he left in the first place. His excuse for going away feels hollow to William, who asks him if the family is standing in the way of his dreams of writing. He responds that he was trying to find a little magic, but Elinor tells him that he doesn’t need to go away to achieve this. William grills him again by saying that writing is about hard work, bringing him another step closer to being brave.

WAITING FOR THE MAGIC works because its winsome characters have a genuine friendliness about them. They never give up on their bond with one another, believing that all their problems will work out in the end. Newbery Medal-winning author Patricia MacLachlan has written a captivating and charming book with just the right amount of magic, love and family bonding that will delight readers of all ages.

Reviewed by Kathleen M. Purcell on September 13, 2011

Waiting for the Magic
written by Patricia MacLachlan, illustrated by Amy June Bates

  • Publication Date: September 13, 2011
  • Hardcover: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers
  • ISBN-10: 141692745X
  • ISBN-13: 9781416927457