And Then I Read: THE MAGIC STONE by Leonie Kooiker

MagicStone

Any children’s novel with the word “Magic” in it will get a second look from me. I’d never heard of the author, who is Dutch, and seems to have written several dozen books. This is one of only two translated and published in English.

A boy named Chris lives with his family in a suburban home. His friend Frank has a grandmother with a very unusual wheelchair, one with three wheels that is powered by two handles that give it propulsion like a bicycle when pumped up and down. Chris has a plan for him and Frank to take the wheelchair for an unauthorized ride through town. Frank is not keen on the idea, he’s afraid of his bossy grandmother, but Chris convinces him, and they do have an exciting ride, and no one seems the wiser. Unknown to Frank, Chris finds an unusual stone in the wheelchair, and absent-mindedly slips it into his pocket. That evening he has some unusual visions. The next day, with the stone still in his pocket, Chris has an argument with his teacher, and suddenly the teacher thinks he’s a monkey and climbs out the classroom window! Chris is beginning to think the stone is magic, and he’s right, but he doesn’t understand how to use it.

As the story progresses, Chris learns that Frank’s grandmother is a witch, and the stone is the source of much of her power. At first Chris doesn’t want to give it back, but when frightening things begin to happen to him, to turns to the grandmother for help. Grandmother takes Chris on a trip into the country to a lonely house in the woods where she says her sister witch can help them both, but before long that gets even scarier.

This was a well-told story with believable characters and just enough magic to make it fantasy without taking things too far beyond reality. Recommended.

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