cover image The Boggart

The Boggart

Susan Cooper. Margaret K. McElderry Books, $16.99 (208pp) ISBN 978-0-689-50576-8

The Boggart, a Scottish spirit delighting in practical jokes, is ``one of the Old Things of the world'' and belongs ``to the cold separate heart of the Wild Magic.'' When the Volniks, a Canadian family, inherit the castle where the Boggart has lived for centuries, the shape-shifting mischief maker is accidentally transported to Toronto, where he discovers greater opportunities for trickery than he has ever imagined. Much gentle slapstick ensues when the ancient being visits Mrs. Volnik's antique shop and the theater run by Mr. Volnik. It falls to the Volnik children, Emily and Jessup, to befriend the prankster and send him home. Although far more lightheartedly, this boisterous romp draws upon the same powerful pre-Christian magic at the heart of Cooper's well-known Dark Is Rising sequence. Aside from all that is amusing and spooky, this tale offers a firmly grounded and utterly non-didactic introduction to some of the differences between the Old World and the New. Ages 9-12. (Feb.)