Magic Kitten

A CHRISTMAS SURPRISE (MAGIC KITTEN)

By Sue Bentley, Illustrated by Angela Swan, Andrew Farley

Published by: Grosset & Dunlap (September 11, 2008)

Available in: paperback, Kindle, NOOK

At the time of this review, there were 11 books in Magic Kitten series.

The cover for A Christmas Surprise is so cheesy, I almost didn’t read it. I’m so glad I did.

The story leaps into the world of fantasy in the prologue. Then in chapter one, the true story starts, and it zooms through a glittery, fantasy adventure grounded in the modern Christmas season. This would be a terrific way for a young girl to spend an afternoon on her holiday break. And although the prologue is a tad confusing, the rest is an easy romp guided by–what else–the cutest white kitten in town.

The Magic Kitten series is a good draw for the older chapter-book girl: say third and fourth grade. It’s not inappropriate for younger kids, but the vocabulary and sentence structure lean older, and in  A Christmas Surprise, there’s some very middle school-esque, mean-girl bullying.

Grandma also turns out to be an easy character to dislike, but this isn’t a drawback. For one thing, she redeems herself nicely. But no matter what our age, family time can be difficult, and families in close quarters during the holidays can be both a curse and a blessing. It’s nice to see this validated in young fiction.

And while the cover looks like something you’d find in a Walmart discount bin, the interior illustrations are simple but charming. Can you say, “Stocking stuffer?”

What do you say teachers, parents and writers? Use the comment below and let’s chat….