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on June 06, 2011 :
I read The Magician’s Castle written by Mary Cunningham to my 10 year old niece and she immediately asked for the rest of the books in the series. It was a fun, easy read filled with magic and time travel, focusing on the theme of friendship. It taught both of us a fair amount about the 1914 period of life and provided an enjoyable afternoon reading and laughing and with my niece.
(reviewed long after purchase)
on May 03, 2011 :
Cynthia's Attic: The Magician's Castle is the fourth in a series of children's books by author, Mary Cunningham. It is the story of two twelve-year-old girls who find themselves traveling through time with the aid of an old trunk.
It is difficult for me to write a review of this book because I am definitely not from the target audience. As an older reader (a very much older reader), I can, honestly, say I didn't hate it but I also can't say I loved it either. A large part of the problem for me was that there were several references to the previous books which I have not read and, thus, I was somewhat lost, at least at the beginning. I also felt that things seemed to happen a little too conveniently in the story: even without the trunk, they were able to travel through time, characters appear seemingly out of thin air to help them, and any and all problems are a little too easily resolved.
Despite my problems with the book, I suspect that, if I were nine years old, I probably would have enjoyed it, as long as I had read the rest of the series. It is fast-paced and the heroines are likable. There are a couple of scary scenes but nothing too frightening for the younger reader. I also liked the fact that Cunningham didn't feel the need to 'dumb down' her vocabulary or explain things like record players, something which many of her young audience have probably never seen.
This is not the kind of book that would appeal to adults as well as children like, for example, The Chronicles of Narnia, but I would definitely recommend it for children (both girls and boys) between the ages of, say, 7 and 11.
(reviewed the day of purchase)