Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Wish, Come True by Mary Q. Steele (1979)

About six months ago, I re-read The Magic Grandfather by Jay Williams (who, incidentally, wrote the first "hard" book I can remember reading by myself, The King With Six Friends).  It was one of those Weekly Reader paperbacks I ordered in fourth or fifth grade, about a schlubby grandson who discovers his grandfather is a wizard, and then a mostly forgettable, bland story ensues.  I suppose I liked the book in fifth grade, because I have warm memories of reading it - but we also didn't have Harry Potter back in the day.  And you can only re-read Narnia so many times.  When I re-read it, I wasn't impressed (certainly not as impressed as I continue to be by The King With Six Friends).  

Wish, Come True by Mary Q. Steele is also a Weekly Reader paperback I ordered in fourth or fifth grade.  I also remembered this book fondly.  And unlike The Magic Grandfather, I actually enjoyed this re-read.  Wish, Come True is a better book all around.  It's not Harry Potter either; I guess we didn't want to read epics back in fourth grade.  It should be longer.  It's derivative of E. Nesbit and Edward Eager too (Nesbit is far superior to both).  But it was still cute.  Meg is an interesting character, and today she'd be part of a longer series of adventures, four books at least.   She's the younger sister, but she's also the more strong-willed leader of the two, which is unusual in children's literature.

Wish, Come TrueWish, Come True by Mary Q. Steele
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This vintage children's fantasy from 1979 is still an enjoyable read after all these years. it's certainly no Harry Potter, but it is has some sharp humor. Meg, the younger sister, leads her slightly older brother on their magical adventures, which is unusual in children's literature (it seems that older siblings are always the leaders in some way, especially male older siblings). The book could be longer (it would be longer if written today, and also part of a never ending series), and the modern young reader is going to be left longing for more adventures that never come. You could lead that young readers who want more to E. Nesbit, as Wish Come True is derivative of Nesbit's Five Children and It, or Edward Eager, Nesbit's American knock-off. But it holds up really well; other than the children walking by themselves to a nearby park in a big city (I can't see that happening now), I don't think anything really sticks out as 1979 (except maybe the illustrations?). 

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