________________ CM . . . . Volume IV Number 7 . . . . November 28, 1997

cover Morgan Makes Magic.

Staunton, Ted. Illustrated by Bill Slavin.
Halifax, NS: Formac, 1997.
58pp., paper, $5.95.
ISBN 0-88780-390-3.

Grades 1 - 4 / Ages 6 - 9.
Review by Janice Foster.

*** /4


Really, I want my old stuff with my old friends at my old school, but I'm trying not to think about that. Instead I'm watching these kids play ball and hoping for someone to talk to. I'm not so great at sports, but I'm a pretty good talker.
Morgan Makes Magic, another of Formac's "First Novel" series, is an easy-to-read book that is divided into ten chapters, each four to six pages long. Every chapter includes a number of Bill Slavin's cartoon-like humorous illustrations. The large font and grade appropriate vocabulary will appeal to children making the transition from picture books to first novels. Readers in this age group will also identify with and enjoy the escapades of the story's characters.

      One of the goals of transitional readers is to be able to read "chapter books", more commonly referred to as "novels" or "narrative text". The 'First Novels' series' provides children with books that address their needs at this stage of their reading development. The story must include characters and incidents to which the young readers can relate. The vocabulary must be age appropriate, and the plot must move at an adequate pace. The book's format cannot be intimidating. Overall, Morgan Makes Magic meets these specifications.

      Morgan, the new kid at school, doesn't feel as if he fits in. He is good at talking and soon finds himself stretching the truth. When he informs the kids that he can perform magic tricks, he realizes that he is in a tight spot, particularly with the unpopular Aldeen Hummel. Most children, but particularly those who have changed schools, will relate to both the characters and the situations in the story. They will enjoy the informal language which includes expressions such as "karate guys" and "hogged the fountain". The large font and short chapters will make the reading of the narrative text manageable. The inclusion of Slavin's humorous illustrations should assist readers with their transition from picturebooks to novel format. The 'less than 60 pages' length also ensures a fairly fast moving pace. Parents and teachers will find the story a good discussion starter, particularly because of its open-ending.


Janice Foster is a teacher-librarian at Oakenwald Elementary School in Fort Garry School Division,Winnipeg, MB.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

Copyright © 1997 the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.

Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364