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Black and Blue Magic by Zilpha Keatley…

Black and Blue Magic (1966)

by Zilpha Keatley Snyder

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230350,307 (4.03)1 / 7

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Snyder delivers another magical summer adventure in this third novel - following upon Season of Ponies and The Velvet Room - which follows the story of young Harry Houdini Marco, who is given the gift of magical wings. Calling himself "Humpty Harry" because of his clumsiness, Harry lives with his mother in the boarding house she runs in San Francisco. Facing a lonely summer because all the neighborhood children have moved away, and longing for a father, Harry finds himself the recipient of a most astonishing gift when Mr. Mazzeeck, a strange man that he helps one day on the bus, comes to stay at the boarding house. Adventure follows adventure in a summer that Harry will never forget...

An entertaining fantasy for intermediate readers, Black and Blue Magic explores one of the quintessential childhood fantasies: the ability to fly. Snyder manages to convincingly weave together the fantastic elements of her plot with the more "mundane" family story, and the result is quite satisfying. Although most of Snyder's early novels were illustrated by Alton Raible, Black and Blue Magic was one of the exceptions, with black and white drawings by Gene Holtan. ( )
1 vote AbigailAdams26 | Jul 1, 2013 |
A fun read in sixth grade. ( )
  pussreboots | Apr 6, 2013 |
With a clumsy protagonist named "Harry Houdini Marco," you know this is one of Snyder's rare forays into comic storytelling. The results are fun, if not exactly the sort of thing she's best at writing.

The plot is comparable to one of the more humor-driven episodes of "The Twilight Zone" that would have been broadcast just a few years earlier: boy has flaw, boy meets supernatural being, boy gets magical gift, magical gift helps boy overcome flaw. None of it is particularly suspenseful, and nothing in the book will come as much of a surprise; it is, however, very readable. Harry himself is an easy character to like, and Mr. Mazzeeck is a great little guardian angel-style guide. The story only starts to drag once Harry is regularly utilizing his magic wings to go on nighttime jaunts; that section becomes repetitive and relies a little too much on the juxtaposition of heroic and humorous incident, which isn't really Snyder's strong suit.

Otherwise, "Black and Blue Magic" is a very pleasant story for pre-teens, perhaps for readers who would find a more "serious" supernatural treatment (as is more typical of Snyder) too frightening. ( )
1 vote saroz | Nov 29, 2010 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Zilpha Keatley Snyderprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Holtan, GeneIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0595321828, Paperback)

You'd think that someone with a name like Harry Houdini Marco would be deft and skillful, but Harry could only occasionally catch even an easy fly ball without making some dumb error. On top of that, most of his friends' families were moving to the suburbs. It would have been a long, dreary summer, but then a Mr. Mazeeck showed up and turned out to be more than he seemed.

This now classic book was first published by Atheneum in 1966. It was selected by Scholastic Books for inclusion in the Arrow Book Club and later republished in a Dell Yearling edition in 1988.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:09:26 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Twelve-year-old Harry Houdini Marco is awkward and clumsy, bearing little resemblance to his magician namesake, until he acquires the gift of flight.

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