cover image Secret


Sheri Cooper Sinykin, S. Sinykin. Magic Attic Press, $5.95 (80pp) ISBN 978-1-57513-001-9

The inaugural title in the Magic Attic Club line of novels and dolls (see Children's Book News, June 19) opens on the day before Christmas, when the four heroines of this series notice a new neighbor--an elderly woman with eyes ""as blue as the heart of a flame""--hanging a wreath on the door of her Victorian home. After meeting the woman, Eleanor Goodwin, the girls find a gold key in the snow and bring it to her. She invites them to use the key to open her attic door. Within, they find a trunk packed with elaborate dresses and costumes. After each selects an outfit to try on, all four gaze in a mirror and are transported to a home in the 1930s, where the woman who greets them calls each by name. Her family is preparing to host a Christmas party when her husband rushes through the door with their daughter, Ellie, who has fallen through the ice while skating. In chapters that would do Pollyanna proud, the friends help nurse the girl (who has ""flame-blue eyes"") back to health--and inject a healthy dose of holiday spirit into the household before returning to the present. Though laden with cliches and dialogue that doesn't always ring true, this light, cheerful tale moves along briskly. Illustrations not seen by PW. Four other Magic Attic titles are scheduled for simultaneous release. Ages 7-up. (Sept.)