Lawn Mower Magic

( 4 )

Overview

With a POP! and a puff of smoke, the Willows' lawn mower calls it quits. A new mower will cost their parents a lot of money, money Derek had hoped to borrow for a train ticket to visit a friend. Luckily Derek and his brother and sisters find a rusty push mower tucked away in the shed. It doesn't look like much, but it turns out that it's been soaking up magic for years. And it's hungry for grass!

Can Derek earn his ticket? Maybe . . . if he, ...

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Lawn Mower Magic

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Overview

With a POP! and a puff of smoke, the Willows' lawn mower calls it quits. A new mower will cost their parents a lot of money, money Derek had hoped to borrow for a train ticket to visit a friend. Luckily Derek and his brother and sisters find a rusty push mower tucked away in the shed. It doesn't look like much, but it turns out that it's been soaking up magic for years. And it's hungry for grass!

Can Derek earn his ticket? Maybe . . . if he, Abner, Tate, and Celia can keep the magic mower under control!

Lynne Jonell follows up her Junior Library Guild selection, Hamster Magic, with a second story of the Willow family's rowdy run-ins with mixed-up magic.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Maggie L. Schrock
After the Willow family moves out to the county, money is tight. Shortly after moving, the family's lawn mower breaks down. Desperate to save his parents money so he can buy a train ticket, Derek and his brother and sisters raid the rickety, old shed for another mower. To their surprise, they find an old-time, push mower. Unbeknownst to them, this old mower has been hiding in the shed, soaking up the magic from Hollowstone Hill. When the kids push the mower out into the grass, it comes to life, taking off and devouring every green thing in its path, including the hedgerow in front of the house! With their parents in town, and living in the middle of no-where, the Willow children don't know what to do to reign in the out-of-control mower. An important lesson about working for what you want is secretly woven into this hilarious story with adorable black-and-white drawings of the main events. With an unexpected hero, Lawn Mower Magic keeps the young reader on the edge of his or her seat until the very end. Part of the "Magical Mix-Ups" series, this is a stand-alone book. Reviewer: Maggie L. Schrock
Kirkus Reviews
The four Willow children attempt to tame an old-fashioned reel lawn mower with an enormous appetite for grass. The family's move to the country has been expensive, and money is tight. When the power mower dies, it seems that buying a new one will take precedence over buying a train ticket for Derek to go visit his old friends. Abner, Tate and Celia are fine siblings. Although they don't want to play the games he likes, they're willing to help their brother by using an old mower they found in the shed. The four of them, plus Celia's stuffed rabbit, make a great team. Taking turns and then working together, they hang on desperately, steering the mower as it gobbles up the green and stopping it before it does too much damage to the vegetable garden or farmer Wopter's alfalfa field. Short chapters and plentiful black-and-white illustrations (not seen), plus the suspense that comes with the realization that "Mowey" is out of control, will carry new readers along. This traditional family adventure provides a touch of magic and the satisfying sense that kids on their own can accomplish something. Second in a promising series that began with Hamster Magic (2010) this is a good stepping stone to more challenging reading. (Fantasy. 6-9)
School Library Journal
Gr 2–4—The Willow family has recently moved to a house in the country, and the four siblings are still adjusting to life away from their old neighborhood and not feeling at home. Derek misses his friends, and, when he receives an invitation to visit them for a week, he's excited. However, the family's lawn mower breaks and, because of their financial situation, he doesn't feel that he can ask his parents for money for a train ticket. As in Hamster Magic (Random, 2010), magic comes into play. When the children discover a rusty old lawn mower in the shed and Celia throws grass at it, it seems to come to life. The youngsters get more than they bargain for when it takes on a life of its own. This beginning chapter book is simple and appealing, and the camaraderie among the four siblings is a positive element. The black-and-white illustrations, some full page, enhance the humor.—Tina Martin, Arlington Heights Memorial Library, IL
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780375866616
  • Publisher: Random House Children's Books
  • Publication date: 2/28/2012
  • Series: A Stepping Stone Book(TM) Series
  • Pages: 112
  • Sales rank: 1,026,237
  • Age range: 6 - 9 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.70 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

In addition to her first book about the Willow family, Hamster Magic, which was both a Junior Library Guild Selection and a Finalist for the Minnesota Book Award for Young People's Literature, LYNNE JONELL is the author of the popular book Emmy and the Incredible Shrinking Rat, a Booklist Editor's Choice, and one of School Library Journal's Best Books of the Year. She has also written three other novels and seven picture books. Lynne is not particularly fond of mowing, but then again, she's never been lucky enough to have a magic mower.

BRANDON DORMAN has created hundreds of illustrations for books and magazines, including the cover art for the Newbery Honor Book Savvy. He loves string cheese and sunflower seeds, and once licked a slug. He lives in Puyallup, Washington, with his wife and two rambunctious sons.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 4 )
Rating Distribution

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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 15, 2014

    Ryan

    Waits

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

    Posted June 3, 2013

    Nice Book

    This book is ok for kids 7-12 year olds. Some parts are very funny tht I almost cried laughing. Over all a great book

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 20, 2012

    Awesome

    Good book, very exciting

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  • Posted June 24, 2012

    I received a copy of this book free of charge from NetGalley in

    I received a copy of this book free of charge from NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinion.

    I'm always looking for good middle grade books to get my sons more interested in reading, and since they love Harry Potter, I figured this book would be even better because it has "magic" right in the title! I was unfortunately not really excited by it, though. The book is a nice short one, especially good for kids with shorter attention spans, but there's really no plot to it, and even less character development! The book takes place in one day, when the kids try to mow their large lawn with a rotary mower to save their parents the money of getting a new gas powered mower, in the hopes that Derek will be able to use that money instead to ride the train to visit some of his old friends (the family recently moved to the boonies from the city). Alas, while the mower was sitting in the shed, it soaked up magic apparently from the soil, although I was never really sure about how the magic got there in the first place. When I requested the book I wasn't aware that it was the second one in a series, so maybe all of this was explained in the first book. I just know that I was left with a lot of unanswered questions at the end of the book.

    Basically, this was a book without a plot, without character development, and with unexplained questions at the end. The kids were likable, though, and the book was short (only 112 pages), so it wasn't a chore to read, but I don't think I'll be reading any more in this series.

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