Thursday, December 29, 2016

Magic in the Park by Ruth Chew (1972, 2014)

They've brought Ruth Chew back into print, with fancy new covers but the same illustrations. Good!

The only Ruth Chew book I can remember is The Witch's Buttons; I couldn't find my own copy (yet) but I'm going to keep looking.

In the meantime, I read Magic in the Park.  It has a super funny first line, as if Ruth Chew knew all about the 21st century from 45 years ago:  "I hate Brooklyn.  Why did we have to move here?"  I think that's a sentiment you hear a lot now, even if I personally find hipsters and hipsterdom to be attractive.

This book fits neatly into the Chew-ian universe, and lovers of witches and urban fantasy won't be disappointed.  As with The Witch's Buttons, magic causes some trouble for two kids, and it's sort of scary (but not really).  I imagine all of Ruth Chew's books are sort of scary (but not really), which, after the witches and witchcraft, is what is appealing about these books.

The book ages pretty well, although a little fourth grade girl wandering about by herself doesn't seem to be something you would see much of in New York City - but I don't actually live there, so who knows.

Spoiler:  I had figured out that the old birdman was the tree, but I liked that touch - it was very Narnia.

Magic in the ParkMagic in the Park by Ruth Chew
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Lovers of witches, magic and urban fantasy will enjoy this book. I loved The Witch's Buttons as a kid, and this had a similar type of plot: two kids get into trouble with magic; it's scary (but not really) - which is how the Chew-ian universe operates. Everything is scary (but not really). 45 years old, fourth grade girls could go the park in city new to them all by themselves; I'm not sure that would still happen - other than that, I think the book ages really well. Jennifer and Mike, a boy and girl, are friends, which I liked; they also aren't typical boys and girls (other than Mike's appetite).


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