Waiting for the Magic

( 21 )

Overview

People may drift apart
But love can hold them together.
Sometimes we find that love through magic –
Sometimes that magic is all ...

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Waiting for the Magic

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Overview

People may drift apart
But love can hold them together.
Sometimes we find that love through magic –
Sometimes that magic is all around us.

This is a story about all of these things.

But it's also a story about how
four dogs
and one cat
help one boy
and his sister
save their family.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Newbery Medalist MacLachlan tackles the familiar yet always heart-wrenching subject of parental separation in her venerable spare and moving style.... The characters are individualistic, believable, and likable, and the impulsive acquisition and heartwarming presence of the animals suggest an affecting work of realistic fiction."—Publishers Weekly

"MacLachlan writes with simplicity and limpid clarity, acknowledging strong emotions evoked by the father’s departure and depicting the events that follow with sensitivity and bits of humor."—Booklist

"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."—Kidsreads.com

* "The spare prose, in William’s authentic voice, conveys pathos and humor; the boy’s cautious observations and Papa’s earnest explanations are offset by Elinor’s droll one-liners and the dogs’ succinct comments. Deft characterization adds richness and depth to a deceptively simple narrative, and appealing charcoal pencil illustrations throughout reflect the action."—SLJ, starred review

"The combination of a fanciful plot and likable, honest, straightforward characters makes this a solid cross-genre work with lots of appeal. The animal voices add further interest, as the pets observe the emotions of the humans around them, particularly William, before the people are even aware of their own feelings. While this will obviously draw in fans of animal tales, it will also attract fans of realism willing to stretch."—Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

School Library Journal
Gr 3–5—Realism blends seamlessly with fantasy as a boy struggles to trust that his fractured family can become whole once more. When Papa walks out yet again, Mama decides they need a dog and takes fifth-grader William and his four-year-old sister, Elinor, to the animal shelter where they choose not one but four dogs: Bryn, Bitty, Neo, and Grace, and one cat, Lula. The animals fill some of the empty space left by Papa's absence, and first Elinor and then William realize they can hear the dogs talking to one another. But when Mama announces she's pregnant, Papa returns and tries to fit into the new dynamics of the household, taking over the cooking to hilarious effect and setting up a studio in the attic in hopes of overcoming his writer's block. Two loving grandparents, an eccentric friend, and four wise and devoted dogs that can now be heard by Papa, and then by Mama, too, help a now-solid family welcome baby Nicholas—and a new dog—at story's end. The spare prose, in William's authentic voice, conveys pathos and humor; the boy's cautious observations and Papa's earnest explanations are offset by Elinor's droll one-liners and the dogs' succinct comments. Deft characterization adds richness and depth to a deceptively simple narrative, and appealing charcoal pencil illustrations throughout reflect the action. The book's title suggests the wonder of canine speech and becomes the title of the story Papa eventually begins to write. Fans of Joy Cowley's Chicken Feathers (Philomel, 2008) will love this gem.—Marie Orlando, formerly at Suffolk Cooperative Library System, Bellport, NY
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781416927464
  • Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers
  • Publication date: 9/18/2012
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 176
  • Sales rank: 76,160
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.28 (w) x 7.50 (h) x 0.49 (d)

Meet the Author

Amy June Bates has illustrated many books for children, including That’s What I’d Do and Sweet Dreams by Jewel; Waiting for the Magic by Patricia McLachlan; Hillary Rodham Clinton: Dreams Taking Flight by Kathleen Krull; The Dog Who Belonged to No One by Amy Hest; and You Can Do It! by Tony Dungy. She graduated from Brigham Young University and now lives with her husband and three children in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. Visit her at AmyBates.com.

Patricia MacLachlan is the author of many well-loved novels and picture books, including Sarah, Plain and Tall, winner of the Newbery Medal; its sequels, Skylark and Caleb’s Story; Edward’s Eyes; The True Gift; Waiting for the Magic; White Fur Flying; and Fly Away. She lives in western Massachusetts.

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Read an Excerpt

Waiting for the Magic

  • Chapter 1
    IT WAS EARLY ON A SATURDAY summer morning when my mother and father stopped arguing and Papa walked away. He is a teacher of literature at the college, so he could have said words when he left. He didn’t. And this time he didn’t slam the door. He shut it with a small, soft sound that made me jump.

“Click,” said my four-year-old sister, Elinor, looking up from her coloring book. I stared at the door. I could feel my heart thump. And I could feel tears coming.

Later, when I went into my bedroom, I found two notes from Papa—one for me and one for Elinor.

Dear William,

I’ve gone off to do some writing. I will call you. And I’ll be back to see you soon. I’m sorry for this.

I love you,

Papa

I read Elinor’s note to her. It was like mine, but he had drawn a picture of Elinor in her long dress.

Elinor took the note but didn’t say anything.

Suddenly Mama was in the doorway. She beckoned to me.

“Let’s go, William,” she said. “Get your sweater, Elinor.”

I stood up and tore my letter into small pieces.

“What’s that?” Mama asked.

“Nothing,” I said. “Go where?”

I followed Mama out to the car.

She strapped Elinor into her car seat.

“We’re going to get a dog,” she said firmly.

I sat next to Mama in the front seat.

“Papa never wanted a dog,” I said.

“That’s true,” said Mama. “Your father is a flawed man. Everyone should have a dog.”

“What is ‘flawed’?” asked Elinor from the backseat.

“It means stupid,” said Mama with feeling.

“Stupid is a bad word,” Elinor announced. She pronounced “word” as wood.

“Yes,” said Mama. “He is a stupid bad wood.”

Elinor had a list of “bad woods,” forbidden by Mama who thought words like “fat” and “stupid” were cruel to call anyone.

Mama began to cry then, very quietly, so that Elinor couldn’t see. I couldn’t say anything. Mama’s crying scared me. All I could do was hate Papa for this. For causing Mama to cry right in front of me.

A driver cut off Mama, and she slammed on the brakes.

“Go to your house, lady!” yelled Elinor at the driver. “Read a book or watch a movie!”

Mama started to laugh, and so did I. Those words coming out of Elinor’s mouth; that face surrounded by messy blond hair. Words that must have been Mama’s at one time.

“What kind of dog are we getting?” I asked.

“Whatever they have,” said Mama.

“Can we get a cat?” asked Elinor from the back.

“Yes,” said Mama.

For a moment I thought about asking for a horse, but I didn’t think Mama’s mood about animals would last that long.

Mama turned into the long driveway at the animal shelter.

As we walked to the front door, Mama took my hand. “I shouldn’t have said that about your father, William,” she said.

“Will he come back?” I asked.

He had gone before and come back happily after a while as if nothing had happened.

“Probably. I’m mad at him, Will. But that doesn’t make him bad.” She paused. “Sometimes your papa doesn’t know what he wants.”

I didn’t answer Mama. He had gone before, but he had never left notes for Elinor and me. Somehow that seemed more final, that note. It was something to be read, saved, or torn up. Maybe Papa felt that leaving a note made going away all right.

Thinking about it would wait for later. In fact, when we went inside I forgot all about my father for just a little while because Mama surprised me more.

The shelter was small, and a woman with spiky hair invited us in. Her name tag said JULIA.

“I’m glad you brought your children. We don’t let families adopt dogs without the children present.”

We walked through a door to a room where the dogs were. She turned to us.

“We have four dogs right now. There is a little description and history of each dog. When you see one you’re interested in, let me know. You can spend time with him or her to see if you’re a fit. I assure you that they are all friendly. Call me when you’re ready.”

The first dog’s name was Bryn.

Mama read about Bryn.

“Bryn’s owner has gone to a nursing home and can’t take the dog with her.”

Bryn was sturdy and brown, with a sharp nose, long velvet ears, and a line of raised hair along her back. She sat up and curled her lip at us, showing her teeth. Friendly?

“Shark,” announced Elinor.

Mama laughed.

“Hello, Bryn,” she said. “You’re a pretty girl.”

Bryn wagged her tail. Her face changed when she heard Mama’s voice.

Bitty, the next dog, was small, with a terrier face and body.

I read out loud to Elinor. “Bitty is high energy. Too much for his family.” And Bitty, as if he had heard me, jumped straight up in the air.

Elinor laughed.

In the next pen there was a greyhound, tall, standing still like a statue. Her name was Grace.

“Grace,” I told Elinor. “She is very shy but friendly. She had a life of racing, but unlike many racing greyhounds, she is gentle with small animals. She needs a home with peaceful people.”

“We are peaceful,” said Elinor.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 21 )
Rating Distribution

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(13)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 21 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 20, 2012

    Gave me chills! A MUST READ!

    This is one of the best books I've read this year! It made me smile broadly and laugh out loud many times over! Of course, I'm a sucker for dog books, but this one is definitely one of my favorites! I'm a children's librarian and will recommend this book in my library for years to come! Highly Recommended!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 24, 2011

    This book is AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!! I love it =)

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 19, 2011

    Amazing!

    This book is so well written... my favorite book!!!

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 20, 2013

    Charming!

    Charming, original and thoroughly enjoyable.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 30, 2013

    Rereading

    I have read this over and over again. Why? Because it is an amazing book! This is a book about a boy whos father left. He is now stuck with a sister who believes in magic and a mom who says bad words and worries alot and 4 dogs and 1 cat. How will he bring his new family into a happy family, the way he wants it to be like? Go ahead and buy this book. Cause if ou don't, then you will be sorry! Highly Recommended!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 21, 2014

    Jan 21 2014

    The tittlae was a good tittle for the book but when u get the sample all that is good is three padges of the book it sounds good but i can not relly tell from the sample

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 11, 2014

    Sg 11 January11 ,2014

    Soooooo good!!!! I love it! 100% great.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 5, 2014

    Great

    Shows a story about moving on

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 7, 2013

    Hi

    Your poop

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 3, 2013

    This book is my favorite yet!

    I love this book! It really deserved to become one of the blue bonnet award nomimies! If u love books!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 2, 2012

    Good

    This book is very good for lots of ages 5-12 maybe. I like it but not my favorite. Read if you like talking animal cute stores.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted April 27, 2012

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    Posted December 10, 2013

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    Posted October 2, 2013

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    Posted February 1, 2012

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    Posted October 31, 2013

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    Posted April 29, 2012

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    Posted August 29, 2013

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    Posted September 19, 2012

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    Posted November 7, 2011

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