REVIEW: Half Magic by Edward Eager

REVIEW: Half Magic by Edward EagerHalf Magic (Tales of Magic #1) by Edward Eager
Published: Sandpiper (1954), Paperback, 208pg
Source: Gift
Genres: Adventure, Classic, Fantasy, Fiction

Beloved by children (and the parents lucky enough to share it with them) since it was first published in 1954, Half Magic is the uproarious tale of four siblings who discover a charm that grants exactly half of whatever they wish for–with results that are twice as predictable (and hilarious) as you might expect.

Jane, Mark, Katharine, and Martha manage to cope with an unexpected trip to the Sahara and nearly a disastrous trip to the time of King Arthur. But can these plucky and resourceful children deal with the changes magic is bringing to their tight-knit family?

Set in Ohio in the late 1920s, yet fresh and funny now as the day it was written. Half Magic weaves its spell anew in this full cast recording that will entrance newcomers as well as fans who have loved this wonderful book for decades. (from Goodreads)

This isn’t my favorite Edward Eager book, but it’s the only one I have so far. So! Half Magic is a cute book, though not without its 1950s problems of light racism/sexism. The girls are all preteen housewives, and there’s a semi-uncomfortable scene with the kids and an Arabian villain. However! There’s ALSO another scene where Katherine turns herself into a knight and kicks Lancelot1 in the rear during a tournament.2 So it kinda balances out!

I also really adore the little romance between the kids’ mother and the not-terrible adult man who help them untwist their problems. Plus, happy ending! Yay!

There’s seven books in this series but I think they all have different kids in them– so if you hated these kids, you aren’t stuck with them for long. What I really want to read is the Edward Eager book I meant to buy when I bought Half Magic. It wasn’t in the store back then, and it’s been SO long since that time that I can no longer remember wtf the book I wanted IS. Maybe it was Magic or Not? That sounds familiar. Le sigh.

Read: January 15, 2013 (reread)


  1. who is a jerk! I will forever love Lancelots portrayed as jerks. Not sure why.
  2. She’s promptly ashamed of herself, but that’s more for messing up the heroic-whatevers of the Arthurian myths than of being a GIRL who beat LANCELOT. I think that’s why, anyway.

5 thoughts on “REVIEW: Half Magic by Edward Eager”

  1. I’m sorry, you wanted Magic or Not and were disappointed when you got Half Magic instead? Surely not. Surely you wanted a different, better one of Edward Eager’s books, to be disappointed when Half Magic showed up instead. Otherwise FItzanastasia fitzcrazy. (See what I did there?)

    Seven-Day Magic is probably the one you wanted! That one is wondrous.

  2. I loved these books when I was a kid!! Magic by the Lake was my favorite.

    At one point the children meet up with other children on a desert island — but it is their own children from the future. I just loved that as a kid.

    Glad to know these books are still being read! 🙂 -beth

  3. This one was our first Edward Eager (mine and the kid) and we liked it well enough. I think we also have Magic by the Lake. We’ll need to do more Eager exploring to find which is our favorite.

  4. I have read Magic or Not? Knights’ Castle, Magic By the Lake, The Time Garden and Half Magic and also The Well Wishers. I don’t know about Seven Day Magic. It could be a title change? I always quite liked EE, just as I quite like E Nesbit. I prefer DWJ to either of them though.

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