Cover image for Half magic
Half magic
Eager, Edward.
Personal Author:
First Harcourt Brace Young Classics edition.
Publication Information:
San Diego, Calif. : Harcourt Brace, 1999.

Physical Description:
192 pages : illustrations ; 21 cm
Faced with a dull summer in the city, Jane, Mark, Katharine, and Martha suddenly find themselves involved in a series of extraordinary adventures after Jane discovers an ordinary-looking coin that seems to grant wishes.
General Note:
"An Odyssey/Harcourt Brace young classic."

Sequel: Magic by the lake.
Reading Level:
830 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR MG 5.0 5.0 471.

Reading Counts RC 6-8 6.2 8 Quiz: 04889 Guided reading level: S.
Added Author:


Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
J FIC Juvenile Fiction Central Closed Stacks
J FIC Juvenile Fiction Open Shelf
X Juvenile Fiction Open Shelf
FICTION Juvenile Fiction Open Shelf

On Order



It all begins with a strange coin on a sun-warmed sidewalk.
Jane finds the coin, and becasue she and her sblings are having the worst, most dreadfully boring summer ever, she idly wishes something exciting would happen.
And something does: Her wish is granted.
Or not quite. Only half of her wish comes true.
It turns out the coin grants wishes--but only by half, so that you must wish for twice as much as you want.
Wishing for two times some things is a cinch, but other doubled wishes only cause twice as much trouble. What is half of twice a talking cat? Or to be half-again twice not-here? And how do you double your most heartfelt wish, the one you care about so much it has to be perfect?

Author Notes

Edward Eager (1911-1964) worked primarily as a playwright and lyricist. It wasn't until 1951, while searching for books to read to his young son, that he began writing children's stories. In each of his books, he carefully acknowledges his indebtedness to E. Nesbit, whom he considered the best children's writer of all time -- "so that any child who likes my books and doesn't know hers may be led back to the master of us all"

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

Fans of Half Magic by Edward Eager, illus. by N.M. Bodecker, can rejoin Jane, Mark, Katharine and Martha and their magical wish-granting coin in celebration of a half-century of Half Magic. This 50th-anniversary edition features a special green ribbon place-marker that matches the enchanting green-ink drawings. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

Gr 2-4-Jane finds a magic charm which grants half of any wish, and her brother and sisters take turns making double wishes, leading to strange happenings-which leads Jane to make a last wish. By Edward Eager. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.



1. How It BeganIt began one day in summer about thirty years ago, and it happened to four children.Jane was the oldest and Mark was the only boy, and between them they ran everything.Katharine was the middle girl, of docile disposition and a comfort to her mother. She knew she was a comfort, and docile, because she'd heard her mother say so. And the others knew she was, too, by now, because ever since that day Katharine would keep boasting about what a comfort she was, and how docile, until Jane declared she would utter a piercing shriek and fall over dead if she heard another word about it. This will give you some idea of what Jane and Katharine were like.Martha was the youngest, and very difficult.The children never went to the country or a lake in the summer, the way their friends did, because their father was dead and their mother worked very hard on the other newspaper, the one almost nobody on the block took. A woman named Miss Bick came in every day to care for the children, but she couldn't seem to care for them very much, nor they for her. And she wouldn't take them to the country or a lake; she said it was too much to expect and the sound of waves affected her heart."Clear Lake isn't the ocean; you can hardly hear it," Jane told her."It would attract lightning," Miss Bick said, which Jane thought cowardly, besides being unfair arguing. If you're going to argue, and Jane usually was, you want people to line up all their objections at a time; then you can knock them all down at once. But Miss Bick was always sly.Still, even without the country or a lake, the summer was a fine thing, particularly when you were at the beginning of it, looking ahead into it. There would be months of beautifully long, empty days, and each other to play with, and the books from the library.In the summer you could take out ten books at a time, instead of three, and keep them a month, instead of two weeks. Of course you could take only four of the fiction books, which were the best, but Jane liked plays and they were nonfiction, and Katharine liked poetry and that was nonfiction, and Martha was still the age for picture books, and they didn't count as fiction but were often nearly as good.Mark hadn't found out yet what kind of nonfiction he liked, but he was still trying. Each month he would carry home his ten books and read the four good fiction ones in the first four days, and then read one page each from the other six, and then give up. Next month he would take them back and try again. The nonfiction books he tried were mostly called things like "When I Was a Boy in Greece," or "Happy Days on the Prairie"-things that made them sound like stories, only they weren't. They made Mark furious."It's being made to learn things not on purpose. It's unfair," he said. "It's sly." Unfairness and slyness the four children hated above all.The library was two miles away, and walking there with a lot of heavy, already-read books was dull, but coming Excerpted from Half Magic by Edward Eager All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

Table of Contents

1. How It Beganp. 1
2. What Happened To Their Motherp. 17
3. What Happened To Markp. 29
4. What Happened To Katharinep. 58
5. What Happened To Marthap. 95
6. What Happened To Janep. 122
7. How It Endedp. 156
8. How It Began Agalnp. 182