- The Time of Green Magic by Hilary McKay
McKay, Hilary The Time of Green Magic. McElderry, 2020 [240p] Trade ed. ISBN 9781534462762 $17.99 E-book ed. ISBN 9781534462786 $10.99 Reviewed from galleys R* Gr. 4-7
Abi's father Theo marries Polly, mother of Max and Louis, and now they're all five a (sometimes awkwardly) blended family, but at least they're managing to move into a larger place, an atmospheric ivy-covered house. Preteen Abi, the relentless reader, is the first to encounter something unusual, as her immersive reading of books leaves physical signs behind—salt water from an ocean voyage, a shell from a beach landing. Then six-year-old Louis becomes enthralled with the increasingly huge wildcat that enters his window at night, whom he dubs Iffen, but when Iffen gets larger and more threatening, can Polly and Max find a way to save Louis from what he's called up? McKay draws on her genius in creating amiable, chaotic families containing members with their own personal dramas; the clan is an endearing one, and their frustrations with family and friends seamlessly blend into the fantasy element. The engaging writing fluidly sets the scene in the mysterious house ("The stairs were the sort you fly down in dreams") and the whiffs of magic are the more enticing for being, at least initially, fleeting. Chapters would be highly suitable for reading aloud as well as alone, and this would make an excellent British counterpart to American early fantasies like Law's Savvy (BCCB 9/08).