I'd be interested in seeing people's comments on a children's/YA
novel that recently received a glowing review in the NYTimes, Nina
Bernstein's MAGIC BY THE BOOK. I was reading it over to see if my
niece might like it -- not that it usually takes much of an excuse
for me to read good YA or children's books -- & I had a mixed
reaction to it. I'd be particularly interested if anyone can speak
for readers at the age level for which the book was intended (about
age 11, I think).
MAGIC BY THE BOOK has a good premise -- three children accidentally
take out a magical book from the library and fall into its portal to
a series of adventures. Just the sort of thing I would have lapped
up in my childhood -- except that, in the execution, the book
struck me as a kid's book written to please adults. There was a bit
much of the air that all this was the author's nostalgic return to
her childhood of blissful, carefree reading. I did not have the
sense, as I do with the Harry Potter books, that the author really
knew how to get inside the point of view of the children at the
emotional level of the ages they're supposed to be.
I would be curious to hear whether others (especially actual kids)
had the same reaction.