cover image The Time of Green Magic

The Time of Green Magic

Hilary McKay. S&S/McElderry, $17.99 (240p) ISBN 978-1-5344-6276-2

McKay adds the fetching family at the center of this resonant novel to her rich cache of irresistible protagonists. When Abi is 11, her placid life in London with sage Granny Grace and Abi’s widower father is derailed after he marries kind Polly (mother to disgruntled 13-year-old Max and affable if perpetually sticky six-year-old Louis) and Granny returns to her native Jamaica. The newly blended family moves into an ivy-shrouded old house, where “the stairs were the sort you fly down in dreams” and Abi felt that “nothing could be impossible”—a premonition that proves prescient. An avid reader, Abi is transported into the pages of books, returning to find evidence of her journeys: sand on her pillow, snow in her hair. By night, Louis, who sorely misses Polly when she’s away on a work trip, is visited and comforted by a mysterious “cat-thing,” which, Abi and Max surmise, may have sprung from a sketchbook of cave art drawings. McKay leaves enticing ambiguity between the real and fantastical, creating an unassailable magic of her own in an incandescent portrait of family, friendship, and imagination. Ages 8–12. [em]Agent: Molly Ker Hawn, the Bent Agency. (July) [/em]