June 19, 2012

Waiting for the Magic by Patricia McLachlan

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , at 1:28 am by suebe2

Waiting for the Magic
by Patricia McLachlan
Atheneum Books for Young Readers
AR 3.0

Kids expect their parents to have all the answers, but that’s not what William discovers when  Papa leaves home.  William isn’t even sure why Papa has left – something about needing to write, needing to find himself.  Now William doesn’t know where Papa is either but he does know that he’s mad and he’s not going to just let it go.

But William has his hands full.  The first thing Mama does it take William and his little sister to the animal shelter.  There they adopt not one pet but four dogs and a cat.  Soon William’s sister Elinor is carrying on conversations with the dogs and the dogs have divided up family duties — who sleeps where and who keeps an eye on each family member.  William relaxes when gigantic Neo climbs on to his bed each night and he even finds room from Elinor and her entourage (cat and dogs) when his sister has nightmares.

What he isn’t sure he has room for is more responsibility so when Mom tells them that she is having a baby, he insists that she tell Papa.  It isn’t fair to keep the information from him and besides William is sick of being the other grown up.  And that’s when William begins to hear it too — the dogs are talking.  They talk to whoever is willing to take a chance and listen, whoever is willing to take a change and feel.

That’s why William is so shocked when, after returning home, Papa hears the dogs speak but Mama still doesn’t.

This story is a little difficult to categorize.  First of all, it is quiet.  It isn’t about the rough and tumble magic of Harry Potter.  This is a story about the quiet magic that interweaves the world around us, if only we can bring ourselves to see and to hear.  It is about the magic that comes with quiet bravery when we let people know how we feel and when we hurt. It is about the magic that holds people together in spite of everything that makes them want to pull back and make a safe nest somewhere quiet.

MacLachlan is a well known author and you probably recognize her name from the Newbery winner, Sarah, Plain and Tall.  In many ways, this book is completely unlike that one — contemporary and magical.  But it is similar in all the ways that matter.  This may not be a rock-star book but it is a solid, heart warming read about togetherness, belonging and making a place for yourself in the world.

–SueBE

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