Thursday, April 10, 2014

The Trouble with Magic (1976)

The Trouble with Magic. Ruth Chew. 1976/2014. Random House. 144 pages. [Source: Review copy]

I may not have loved Ruth Chew's Magic in the Park, but, I definitely LOVED her fantasy novel The Trouble with Magic. To think this little fantasy novel starts with a big stink! Barbara and Rick have sensitive noses, I suppose. They are so overwhelmed with disgust at the smell of cooking cabbage, that Rick easily persuades Barbara to spend her allowance money (fifty cents!) on air freshener. She doesn't have enough money for scented spray (that would cost sixty-nine cents), but, she does have enough for a bottle of something--something with a wick?--that will get the job done, or so they think. They take the bottle home...and that's when the adventure begins. For INSIDE the can is a wizard with a magical umbrella! This poor wizard has been TRAPPED. Harrison Peabody is more than happy to grant wishes (via the umbrella, though they don't know that at the beginning) to those lovely children who freed him. Barbara wishes for her room to be covered in roses! Rick wishes for his room to be covered in pine trees. Still the children are thinking of those noses and that CABBAGE. The children spend a few minutes quite pleased with themselves until they realize how impractical magic can be when it comes time to do homework and go to bed! It isn't long before they want the magic undone...

I thought this one was delightful. It definitely reminded me of other wish-related fantasy novels like Five Children and It and Half Magic. I love seeing WHAT these two children wish for and how it almost always goes wrong. I thought it was a fun twist that the wishes can only work IF the umbrella is used when it's raining.
© 2014 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


Kailana 11:12 AM  

Are they rereleasing her books? That's so great! She was definitely a childhood favourite. This one I remember. I don't think I read the one you reviewed the other day.

Lynn 1:31 PM  

This sounds really lovely! I love the idea - not a genie in a bottle but a wizard - with an umbrella.
Lynn :D

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