Book Review: M is for Magic

M is for MagicM is for Magic by Neil Gaiman

Genre: YA, Fantasy, Short Stories
Rating: 3/5 stars

M is for Magic is a collection of short stories for children. I think the book, or at least several of the stories are more suited for the young adult group than for children.

I wasn’t interested in some of the stories at all and some of them I loved . . . and everywhere in between. So the only accurate way to review this book is to take it story by story.

1. The Case of the Four and Twenty Blackbirds – 2/5 stars

A detective story told in the noir style, but the characters are all from nursery rhymes. Jack Horner must find the person who pushed Humpty Dumpty off the wall, but everyone else thinks it was just an accident. The story is cute and I think it had the potential to be better, but it fell short.

2. Troll Bridge – 3/5 stars

This is a really creepy story about a little boy who runs into a troll while traveling through the woods. The troll wants to eat his life, but the boy bargains with the troll saying he’ll come back when he’s lived more of a life. It’s disturbing and the main character is far from likeable. It was interesting, but I wish there was a bit more to it.

3. Don’t Ask Jack – 4/5 stars

There’s not a whole lot to this story and my only complaint (as is common with a lot of Neil Gaiman’s work) is that I’d like more of the story. As it stands, it’s a haunting tale of a family’s Jack-in-the-Box (I’ve noticed through other works that Gaiman has a penchant for all things Jack). There’s a lot left to the imagination, but the story is extremely creepy.

4. How to Sell the Ponti Bridge – 2/5 stars

This is a grifter story about selling a well-known landmark, but with a sci-fi/fantasy twist. The story was entertaining, but there were too many unnecessary details for me to really get into it. Plus, I found it a bit predictable, but that’s probably because I watch too much Hustle.

5. October in the Chair – 3/5 stars

This is a story within a story. I enjoyed the aspect of the 12 months sitting around a campfire telling stories. The main story, October’s story, was about a little boy who runs away from home and meets up with a ghost. It’s dark and morbid, which I enjoy, but I’d have liked more of an ending.

6. Chivalry – 5/5 stars

This was a fun story about an old woman who finds the Holy Grail in thrift store and the knight who tries to get her to give it up. The story is light-hearted and the characters are entertaining.

7. The Price – 5/5 stars

Another one of my favorites. A family takes in several stray cats, but one is particularly interesting. It will make you rethink the common image of black cats.

8. How to Talk to Girls at Parties 3/5 stars

Two teenage boys wind up at the wrong party. One is outgoing and the other is shy and finds talking to girls difficult. He breaks out of his shell and talks to a few girls at the party but doesn’t understand most of what they say . . . and there’s a good reason for it. The story was an interesting idea, but it never felt fully developed.

9. Sunbird 3/5 stars

I loved the idea of this story, but it just took way too long to get to anything interesting. Members of an Epicurean Club who have eaten everything imaginable go in search of the mythical sunbird of Suntown. While I didn’t predict all of the details of the ending, I basically knew what was going to happen.

10. The Witch’s Headstone 5/5 stars

This is actually a part of The Graveyard Book, which I absolutely loved. A young (living) boy is raised by ghosts in a graveyard and meets the ghost of a witch. It’s a touching story of a unique friendship.

11. Instructions 4/5 stars

A list of instructions for when you get caught in a fairy tale . . . in poetry. I enjoyed it . . . though I think it would have fit better as the first story rather than the last. I just found out there was a picture book made of this and I’d definitely love to add it to my collection.


Upcoming reviews — Let’s Pretend This Never Happened (A Mostly True Memoir) by Jenny Lawson and Matilda by Roald Dahl

I also finished Athena the Brain (Goddess Girls #1) by Joan Holub and Suzanne Williams with my daughter, but I didn’t write enough to warrant an entire blog post. My brief review is here.

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