cover image This Side of Magic

This Side of Magic

Debbie Dadey, Marcia Thornton Jones, , llus. by Adam Stower. . Tor/Starscape, $3.99 (133pp) ISBN 978-0-7653-5982-7

This breezy lark by veteran collaborators (the Adventures of the Bailey School Kids) opens the Keyholders series. Best friends Luke and Penny witness curious goings-on when caring for Mr. Leery's cat, Mo, while the elderly neighbor is away (for starters, Mo reveals he can talk). On his return, Mr. Leery tells them a magical world exists beyond the thick bushes that edge his yard. He recruits the two as apprentice Keyholders, protectors of the border between the enchanted realm and the real world, which boggarts are threatening to invade. The kids sign on when they meet their “links”—“beings from beyond the border that form a special connection to the Keyholders”—Luke's is a bumbling dragon, Penny's a caustic unicorn. One drawback: the third Keyholder is their nemesis, Natalie. A stage-setter for the series, the story is short on enchantment, yet kids will be drawn to the likable, believable protagonists and the promise of more enticing magic and action to follow. Book two, The Other Side of Magic , is due the same month. Ages 7–10. (May)