As soon as the first few leaves spiral down from the trees, pumpkins appear on porches and costumes arrive in stores, I start to get a hankering for chapter books in the fantasy realm. The one I recently scouted, Upside Down Magic, combines the struggles of a girl, Nory, with starting school and fitting in. So what’s magical? Pretty much everything. Nory’s father can make things invisible, her sister can direct the actions of animals and her brother can conjure fire. Nory has powers, too. Problem is, as a Fluxer, she should be able to transform herself into an animal at will. Sadly, those abilities seem to short circuit more often than not and Nory ends up changing into two animals at once. This off-kilter magic lands Nory in the Dunwiddle Magic School, specifically, the Upside-down Magic Class. Nory, finding the class full of kids with oddball powers, only wants her magic and her life to be normal. Attempts to manage her situation result in engrossing adventures and Nory learning life lessons about herself and others.
The story, a collaboration of three expert authors, is wonderfully penned. The characters of varying cultures and the challenges of Nory and her classmates are artfully woven to make a story with wide appeal. Readers in grades 3-5 who love fantasy as well as those who fancy stories with strong-willed main characters will want to dive into this book like a dog into a pile of leaves. This book is the first in a series.
Written by Sarah Mlynowski, Lauren Myracle and Emily Jenkins
Accelerated Reader Level ranges from 3.7-4.2
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