Be a Genie in Six Easy Steps

Be a Genie in Six Easy Steps

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by Linda Chapman, Steve Cole

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Be careful what you wish for. . . .

When new stepsiblings Milly, Michael, Jason, and Jess move to a town in the middle of nowhere, the last thing they expect is to find a magic book. But then they stumble upon The Genie Handbook, and their lives are changed forever. Each chapter in The Genie Handbook contains one of six stages of training

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Be careful what you wish for. . . .

When new stepsiblings Milly, Michael, Jason, and Jess move to a town in the middle of nowhere, the last thing they expect is to find a magic book. But then they stumble upon The Genie Handbook, and their lives are changed forever. Each chapter in The Genie Handbook contains one of six stages of training to be mastered, and the kids are thrilled to begin their schooling—especially since once they become genies, they can wish themselves back to London and their old lives.

But then some of the wishes go wrong, and the magic starts to seem scarier. And when the kids discover a mysterious couple watching them covertly, they realize there's more to the handbook than they ever could have guessed.

If the children's greatest wish of all is finally granted, will their world change for better or for worse? Maybe sometimes it takes something even more powerful than a genie to reveal your true heart's desire.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Kris Sauer
Michael and Milly and Jason and Jess were more than happy with their separate, settled lives in London. But when their parents decided to get married, it not only meant two new stepsiblings to get used to, it also meant a brand new house in a tiny little town that was most decidedly not London. To add to the misery, their parents were in the process of opening a bookstore, so money was tight. Making new friends in a new school was tough enough without having to share rooms with a new stepsibling. But when Jason and Milly discover a handbook on how to be a genie, it is clear that their lives will be changed even more. Working together and with guidance from Skribble, the magic book's resident bookworm, the children work their way through the six genie training stages. At each magical step, the four stepsiblings not only find new friends in each other and at school, but also discover that which their hearts truly desire. Attempting to fit the ever-popular magic genre set off by Harry Potter, this book is a poor imitation of many other fine offerings. Set in England, American-based readers might find some terms and phrases puzzling. Even excepting the slang, the language comes across as juvenile and a bit stilted, particularly in the early chapters. Yet, while the premise is a bit silly and the length rather long (over 300 pages), the book is fast-paced and engaging enough that young fans of this genre will likely not notice and well may, in fact, fall under the book's proverbial spell. Reviewer: Kris Sauer
School Library Journal
Gr 4–7—This modern-day homage to E. Nesbit's Five Children and It brings humor and gender equality to the original story line. The offspring of a newly blended family, Milly, Jason, Michael, and Jess are adjusting to life in small-town Moreways Meet with ill grace. All of them want to return to London, so when Milly discovers The Genie Handbook and its occupant, Skribble the bookworm, the children are eager to pass quickly through the six challenges involved in becoming a genie. As readers might expect, the wish-granting quickly spills over into chaos, and the children as well as Skribble learn about the true desires of the heart as they settle into their new home. For those who enjoyed Nesbit's charmer, this novel will be a nostalgic walk down familiar paths, and it will direct new readers toward the works of Nesbit and Edward Eager. While the idea of the children training to be genies gives the story a slightly different structure, the outlandish wishes gone wrong share the same flavor of daring adventure. Milly, especially, with her sweet concern for Skribble's feelings and for the genie ethic, is reminiscent of Nesbit's characterizations. Some elements, especially the conclusion, are predictably saccharine, but even the thinly veiled moral lessons can't detract from the sheer joy of imagining oneself in possession of a magic lamp. Most imaginative readers will want to check out this family-driven fantasy adventure.—Caitlin Augusta, Stratford Library Association, CT
Kirkus Reviews
In this collaboration by two well-known British children's authors, dedicated to E. Nesbit and consciously hearkening back to Five Children and It, two teens and two tweens united in a newly blended family find a magic book that can teach them to become genies in a lamp. When their parents marry and move into a new home in a boring country town, the siblings yearn for one thing: to go back to London. They jump at their chance to acquire magical abilities. Guided by a cantankerous magical bookworm they name "Skribble," the quartet tries to advance in geniedom, but, as they're teens and tweens, they can't avoid squabbles and silly choices. Life lessons ensue. Danger looms when two real genies stalk them. Chapman (My Secret Unicorn) and Cole (Astrosaurs) pitch the narrative into the strike zone of their target audience, with as much emphasis on kiddie play and silliness as on magic and suspense. While it's mostly light, silly fun that goes down easily, literarily it doesn't hold a candle to either its inspiration or Edward Eager's midcentury hommages thereof. (Fantasy. 8-12)
ALA Booklist
“An entertaining adventure.”
Georgia Byng
“Gripping and fun—a pleasure to read.”

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Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
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File size:
464 KB
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

Meet the Author

Linda Chapman and Steve Cole are both bestselling authors in their native England; between them, they have written more than a hundred books for children. Be a Genie in Six Easy Steps was their first collaboration. Linda's books include the series My Secret Unicorn, Unicorn School, Stardust, and Not Quite a Mermaid, while Steve has created the Astrosaurs and Cows in Action series as well as Thieves Like Us and Z. Rex for older readers.

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Be a Genie in Six Easy Steps 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
TeensReadToo More than 1 year ago
Reviewed by Kira M for Part of a newly blended family, Milly, Michael, Jason, and Jess are having trouble adjusting to their new living arrangements. When the four discover a magic book with a resident bookworm, they decide to follow the six steps to becoming a genie. Things aren't all candy and roses for them, however. The wishes keep going awry, the magic seems to get scarier, and a mysterious couple is following them. Is there more to the magic book than meets the eye? A fun-filled adventure filled with action, magic, and a fast-paced plot. The characters are memorable, the story is engaging, and the premise is intriguing. Readers who like Harry Potter, fantasy, and magic fiction will enjoy reading BE A GENIE IN SIX EASY STEPS.