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THIS SIDE OF MAGIC (The Keyholders, 1)

Author: Debbie Dadey and Marcia Thornton Jones

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Publisher: Tom Doherty Associates,

Material: paperback

Summary: When Mr. Leery gets called out of town suddenly, he asks Penny and Luke to take care of Mo, his cat. According to Natalie (their very nosy classmate), Mo can talk ... and she's keeping the proof in her journal. While Penny and Luke agree things are a little strange - like the new boy who sniffs your clothes - they don't believe that cats can talk. Until Mo talks to them and Mr. Leery tells them about the Boggarts. It sounds exciting at first, but now that Mr. Leery has dubbed them keyholders - people who protect the world from evil magic - they aren't so sure. This is a magical mystery series for transitional readers.

Type of Reading: bedtime story, independent reading, reluctant reader, remedial reader, read aloud book

Recommended Age: read together: 8 to 10; read yourself: 9 to 12

Interest Level: 8 to 12

Reading Level: 2.7

Young Reader Reaction: Review pending.

Adult Reader Reaction: I was expecting a book-by-formula story and I was wrong. This is an engaging page turner with lots of excitement and some predictable elements that are offset by humor and solid characters. This is an exceptional choice for reluctant or remedial readers. The story has some meat to it, there are some black-and-white sketches scattered throughout, and the text moves forward with lots of dialogue (i.e., short sentences). I would like to continue reading this series.

Pros: Magic, mystery, and a few perils will engage kids in this fantasy series. Kids will recognize themselves and their friends in Natalie, Penny, and Luke.

Cons: None.

Borrow or Buy: Buy. This is a story that readers of all levels can enjoy. Younger children will enjoy listening to it, and independent readers (including dormant readers) will swallow it whole!


Educational Themes: This is largely a story that's meant to be enjoyed just as it is. Setting aside the magical, good v. evil elements, the relationships are interesting and raise some great questions for "what happens next?" Especially as it relates to the change from duo to trio. Because the text is filled with lots of dialogue, this would make a good reader's theater selection.

Notes: The author donated a copy of this book to the Reading Tub. This is an unsolicited donation. The Reading Tub reviewed the book in conjunction with an Author Showcase feature.

Literary Categories: Fiction - magic, fantasy, easy reader series

Date(s) Reviewed: August 2009

Other Reviews:


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