Magical Mischief

Overview

What if magic took over everything in its path? This is the fate of the old Hardbattle Bookshop. Magic has settled in every corner and brought chaos to Mr. Hardbattle's life, driving away all of his customers. Then one day, just when Mr. Hardbattle's had enough, a young boy named Arthur stumbles in. And soon Mr. Hardbattle, Arthur, and the lovable Miss Quint are banding together to reclaim the shop. A new home for magic must be found . . .

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Magical Mischief

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Overview

What if magic took over everything in its path? This is the fate of the old Hardbattle Bookshop. Magic has settled in every corner and brought chaos to Mr. Hardbattle's life, driving away all of his customers. Then one day, just when Mr. Hardbattle's had enough, a young boy named Arthur stumbles in. And soon Mr. Hardbattle, Arthur, and the lovable Miss Quint are banding together to reclaim the shop. A new home for magic must be found . . .

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Elizabeth Fronk
Mr. Hardbattle needs help with magic in his bookstore—the magic is chasing away customers. When Arthur Goodenough and Miss Quint appear, Mr. Hardbattle sees the answer to chasing away the magic. The trio decides that they must move the magic to some other place and while Mr. Hardbattle leaves to examine hopeful future locations for the magic, Miss Quint moves into the store. However, she becomes lonely and her wishes bring to life a girl name Susan. Other characters from the books also come to live in the store: Mr. Claggitt, Mrs. Vyosey-Brown and Jimmy. Mr. Claggitt, Mrs. Vyosey-Brown and Jimmy have unsavory intentions for residents of the village where the store is and their thievery takes away from the story about the magic and the store. Susan becomes a nice friend to Arthur, but this relationship is not developed as well as it could be. The story moves along briskly, especially after characters from books join Miss Quint. However, the novel would be more appealing if it devoted more attention to the magic in the bookstore and to Arthur and Susan. Preteen readers, especially those who appreciate old-fashioned stories like Half Magic, may enjoy this novel. Reviewer: Elizabeth Fronk
Kirkus Reviews

What happens when magic goes berserk?

In the case of Mr. Hardbattle's old and dusty bookshop, where magic has taken up residence, its behavior is erratic, ranging from mischievous to uncontrollable. Staples play a skipping game, books read themselves and thumbtacks attack bare feet. That's tame, though, compared to inanimate objects' coming to life, the second-to-last step's turning to custard and, worst of all, The Smell (individually offensive to each person who comes into the shop). When Mr. Hardbattle ventures forth to find a new home for the magic, Miss Quint and schoolboy Arthur take over the shop and discover they can bring book characters to life. Bedlam ensues when a motley collection of fictional creations overruns the bookshop, and three miscreants engineer a series of burglaries. How to foil uppity Mrs. Voysey-Brown, Jimmy the bellhop and Mr. Claggitt, a mountaineer? A plot to catch them in the act works and everyone and everything returns to (almost) normal. In the thick of the twists, the magic itself becomes a character, directing and redirecting the action, which is most of the fun here. Though the novelis set in the quaint (fictional) English town of Plumford and oozes English coziness from every pore, it has, alas, been Americanized—a shame.

Blimey, no Harry Potter competition here, just a light encounter with British humor no amount of American vocabulary can disguise. (Magical adventure. 8-11)

School Library Journal
Gr 4–6—A dusty little bookshop run by aged Mr. Hardbattle is in danger of closing because most of the customers have been run off by a mischievous and smelly magic that has settled in every corner of Hardbattle Books. Then quirky Miss Quint and a boy named Arthur team up with the owner to try to save the shop before it's too late. While Mr. Hardbattle tries to find a new home for the magic, things back at the shop go haywire when Miss Quint wishes book characters to life. One of them, a girl named Susan, helps Miss Quint and Arthur as they battle against the characters run amok in the bookstore and the town. The characters are well developed and likable, and the story leaves some loose ends for possible sequels. A sweet blend of magic, with a taste of mystery, this spellbinding tale flows smoothly and will keep fantasy lovers hooked.—Michele Shaw, Quail Run Elementary School, San Ramon, CA
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781599906294
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
  • Publication date: 7/19/2011
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 1,409,394
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Lexile: 970L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.30 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

ANNA DALE lives in England, where she onced worked as a bookseller. Publishers Weekly named her a "flying start" author for her debut, Whispering to Witches.

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