A Question of Magic

( 9 )

Overview

Serafina was living the normal life of a village girl, when she gets a mysterious letter—her first letter ever, in fact—from a great aunt she's never heard of in another village. Little does 'Fina know, her great aunt is actually a Baba Yaga, a magical witch who lives in an even more magical cottage.

Summoned to the cottage, Serafina's life takes an amazing turn as she finds herself becoming the new Baba Yaga. But leaving behind home and the boy she loves isn't easy, and as ...

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A Question of Magic

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Overview

Serafina was living the normal life of a village girl, when she gets a mysterious letter—her first letter ever, in fact—from a great aunt she's never heard of in another village. Little does 'Fina know, her great aunt is actually a Baba Yaga, a magical witch who lives in an even more magical cottage.

Summoned to the cottage, Serafina's life takes an amazing turn as she finds herself becoming the new Baba Yaga. But leaving behind home and the boy she loves isn't easy, and as Serafina grows into her new and magical role answering the first question any stranger might ask her with the truth, she also learns about the person she's meant to be, and that telling the future doesn't always mean knowing the right answers.

In her inimitable and bestselling way, ED Baker has crafted a funny and romantic story that combines some fabulous details from the original Slavic tale, with an all new spin!

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
08/19/2013
Baker (The Wide Awake Princess) continues to weave enchanting new stories out of fairy tale lore, this time pairing the legend of Baba Yaga with a strong-willed heroine. Serafina is happy with the life she leads in her small village, spending time with her family and Alek, the best friend she has fallen in love with. Then a letter from a mysterious relative arrives, promising Serafina an inheritance; when Serafina goes to claim it, everything changes. Serafina becomes the new Baba Yaga, a witch cursed to answer any question honestly, though a person can only ask her one question in a lifetime. Now Serafina is stuck living alone in a cottage that scurries around on chicken feet, with only talking skulls and an immortal cat for company, and townsfolk seeking her wisdom on a regular basis. Each answer Serafina gives ages her, and only a magical blue rose tea can reverse the process. Serafina’s longing to return home and her desire to use her powers for good combine create a sympathetic character in this neatly plotted and satisfying fairy tale. Ages 8–14. (Oct.)
From the Publisher
"Slyly combines fairy-tale tropes. . . . The humor and relationships created by Baker are happily reminiscent of such classics as Howl’s Moving Castle." —Kirkus Reviews

 

"Baker continues to weave enchanting new stories out of fairy tale lore." —Publishers Weekly

 

"A lively fantasy. . . . Suspense, magic, romance, and humor." —Booklist

 

"A delightful story about telling the truth, love, pain, and always trying to reach for what you really want." —Library Media Connection

 

"The dialogue is fluid and often abounds with humor . . . This amusing title is sure to win the hearts of girls who crave an active protagonist." —School Library Journal

 

"Humorous  . . . this fractured fairy tale will be enjoyed by readers who like adventure with a touch of romance." —School Library Journal on The Wide-Awake Princess

 

"I've loved everything I've read by E.D. Baker and this book was no exception. With plenty of humor and heart, I eagerly followed Annie on her quest to find help for her sister's betrothed. I love the idea of a character upon whom magic has no effect, it creates unique and often humorous situations for both Annie and those around her both good and bad. A fun light read, perfect for middle grade girls." —GeoLibrarian on Unlocking the Spell

Children's Literature - Jeanna Sciarrotta
When Serafina receives a letter from her great-aunt Sylanna, whom she has never met, she has no idea just how much her life is about to change. Sylanna writes about an inheritance that she wants to leave Serafina that requires the girl to visit. Upon arrival at her great-aunt's cottage, however, mysterious things begin to happen: An ancient book with blank pages begins to write to her, skulls talk and move, and a cat seems to have answers to her questions. Slowly, Sarafina begins to realize that she has been summoned to take over the role of Baba Yaga, a mythical woman of fairy tales that many people have only half-believed in. Forced into this new role, Serafina has no way of getting in contact with her family or the boy she loves. In this enchanting retelling, E. D. Baker breathes new life into this traditional story. Young readers will delight in the bridge between the fairy tell elements, romance, and coming-of-age stories. This is a fast-paced and energetic tale that holds interest and has a neat and tidy satisfying conclusion. Reviewer: Jeanna Sciarrotta
Kirkus Reviews
Set in the days of yore in Eastern Europe, this charming tale features Serafina--intelligent and good-hearted third-born daughter--who unwillingly but gamely takes on the burden of an unexpected, unusual inheritance while also working to extricate herself and instead marry her childhood sweetheart. "Welcome! You are the new Baba Yaga and the mistress of this house." These words appear in an enchanted book that Serafina finds when her family sends her to visit Great-Aunt Sylanna's cottage--replete with chicken legs and a talking cat--in Mala Kapusta. Serafina soon discovers her primary duty: Whenever a person visits her, they may ask one question, which she answers truthfully in an unsolicited, ancient voice, with knowledge channeled from magical wisdom. The book's strength lies in its showing how Serafina uses her accumulating knowledge to effect positive changes in her own and others' lives. There is an unconvincing thread about how she doesn't think she will be able to convince her parents that magic exists; after all, scores of people line up for her sorcery daily. The book slyly combines fairy-tale tropes, such as a happy ending, with modern sensibilities, such as the advantages of literacy and the ravages of war. Overall, the humor and relationships created by Baker are happily reminiscent of such classics as Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones (1986), which is pretty good company to keep. (Fantasy. 8-14)
School Library Journal
02/01/2014
Gr 3–6—When Serafina's great-aunt Sylanna invites her to claim her inheritance, the girl's life is changed forever. Traveling to find her long-lost relative, Fina learns instead that she has inherited the title of Baba Yaga and the power to answer questions, no matter how complex, with words and a voice, over which she has no control. Resistant to her new position, she tries unsuccessfully to escape both the chicken-legged flying cottage that is now her home and the talking skulls and magical cat that inhabit it. However, when she discovers the newfound wisdom she acquires with each response, she succumbs to her fate. Meanwhile, her sweetheart, Alek, vows to bring her home. Fina-Baba Yaga instructs him on how to achieve that goal and is then kidnapped. Despite wars and other difficulties, Alek succeeds in his quest, and Fina, escaping her captors, returns to him and happily passes on her powers to her friend Dielle-the next Baba Yaga. While details of medieval life anchor the story in its realistic setting, its juxtaposition with a fantasy world inhabited by giants and fairies brings a different, broader dimension to the tale. Baker includes just enough sorcery to add a bit of intrigue and tension, and there are enough well-plotted twists and turns to keep interest high. The dialogue is fluid and often abounds with humor, especially in Fina's conversations with both her visitors and her skulls. Although she is the only truly well-developed character, both Dielle and Alek have enough mettle to prevent them from becoming mere caricatures. This amusing title is sure to win the hearts of girls who crave an active protagonist.—Nancy Menaldi-Scanlan, formerly at LaSalle Academy, Providence, RI
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781599908557
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
  • Publication date: 10/1/2013
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 272
  • Sales rank: 163,000
  • Age range: 10 - 14 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.30 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

E. D. Baker is the author of The Tales of the Frog Princess series, including The Frog Princess, which was in part the inspiration for the Disney movie The Princess and the Frog. Baker is also the author of Fairy Wings, Fairy Lies, The Wide-Awake Princess, and Unlocking the Spell. She lives with her family and many pets in Maryland.

www.edbakerbooks.com www.talesofedbaker.com

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 9 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(7)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

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2 Star

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1 Star

(2)

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Sort by: Showing all of 9 Customer Reviews
  • Posted February 21, 2014

    This is a beautiful retelling of the legend of Baba Yaga. Serafi

    This is a beautiful retelling of the legend of Baba Yaga. Serafina is a sweet and unsuspecting girl that goes to meet her long lost great aunt after receiving a letter about an inheritance. She is unknowingly heading to a lifetime of answering questions as the truth telling Baba Yaga.

    I had never heard of Baba Yaga until I read this book, and I think that helped me enjoy the story more. The writing is easy to read and entertaining. Getting sucked into this story took zero effort on my part as I was quickly swept away into the imaginary world that E.D. Baker created. This is precisely the type of book that I love and would gladly recommend to middle grade and teen readers. It is clean, engaging, and sweet. It has the predictably happy ending that I was hoping for.

    Content: clean

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 20, 2013

    It was truly amazing!! This book had a mixture of humor, love, a

    It was truly amazing!! This book had a mixture of humor, love, adventure, and drama.. My favorite book so far written by E.D. Baker!! -Kris
    Wolvenpads

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 9, 2013

    I absolutely love E.D. Baker as well! Her Frog Princess series i

    I absolutely love E.D. Baker as well! Her Frog Princess series is one of the greatest series of all time! I also love The Wide-Awake Princess series. Go Liam! I am definently going to ask for this for Christmas! I completely agree with the person above me.

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2013

    I loooooooooooooooove E.D. Baker!!!!!!!!!!

    Looks like a really good book. I cant wait to read it. E.D Bakers books are amazing.LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
    OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOVE THEM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :) ;) Also I am the 1st review.

    2 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 4, 2014

    Great Retelling

    I love this book for many reasons. I had never heard of baba yaga before and learning a new tale is always a ton of fun. It is a welk deeloped plot and easy to comprehend which mad you get sucked in easily. This book has a nice deal of friendship bravery romance and acceptance.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 16, 2014

    Errrrrrrr

    I know Baker has writen a few good books but ten dallors or out of your mind if you think im bying that it is not the only one ether.Hold on i am going to go find the adress to the nearest mental instatotion

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 31, 2013

    Borring

    :( :0 :p

    0 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 9, 2014

    To: I agree

    I agree with your agreement.

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 6, 2013

    Awesome!!!!!!

    One of the best books i have ever read!

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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