Booraem, Ellen

River Magic

(2) 4-6 In Booraem's (Small Persons with Wings, rev. 3/11; Texting the Underworld, rev. 7/13) latest fantasy, Donna's small family is grieving the death of her aunt, Annabelle, and struggling financially now that Annabelle is no longer there helping to support them. Donna takes an afterschool job as a housecleaner for Vilma Bliksem, an elderly new neighbor. But Vilma, it transpires, is a weather mage, and as her telepathic dragon companion reports, she has a nasty retaliatory streak. When she spitefully turns Donna's former best friend into a chicken, Donna mobilizes an eccentric classmate and half the girls' basketball team to change her back. The mix of the fantastical and the practical gives this light, quickly paced fantasy its vitality; dragon flights and magical gold coexist with tips from "Annabelle's Guide to Everyday Household Mechanics." On the serious side is a family on the verge of collapse and a girl who feels she's lost her best friend; on the whimsical, the magic of pixies and the suspenseful action of a hand-to-hand fight with a baleful thunder mage.


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