cover image Upside-Down Magic

Upside-Down Magic

Sarah Mlynowski, Lauren Myracle, and Emily Jenkins. Scholastic Press, $14.99 (208p) ISBN 978-0-545-80045-7

The writers behind How to Be Bad (2008) aim for a younger audience in this entertaining story about magical powers gone humorously awry. Ten-year-old Nory is mortified when she bungles her interview at the posh magical academy where her father is headmaster; attempting to morph into a kitten, she instead turns into a sequence of outrageous hybrid animals, including a “dritten” (dragon-kitten). She is shipped off to live with her wonderfully kooky Aunt Margo (who works as a flying taxi, zipping passengers around on her back) and enrolls in an “Upside-Down Magic” program. Nory’s fear that her classmates will be “the worst of the wonky” is delightfully realized. Magical shenanigans abound as the story celebrates individuality, self-acceptance, and tolerance, encapsulated in Aunt Margo’s advice: “Just be who you are, not who you think you should be.” Featuring short chapters and lively, funny dialogue, this novel should please kids who don’t naturally find reading to be magical, as well as those who do. Ages 8–12. Agent: (for Mlynowski) Laura Dail, Laura Dail Literary Agency; (for Myracle) Barry Goldblatt, Barry Goldblatt Literary; (for Jenkins) Elizabeth Kaplan, Elizabeth Kaplan Agency. (Sept.)