Cover image for The trouble with magic
The trouble with magic
Chew, Ruth, author, illustrator.
First Random House edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Random House, [2014].
Physical Description:
128 pages : illustrations ; 22 cm.
Harrison Peabody, a very pleasant wizard, demonstrates that a great deal of trouble often accompanies a little bit of magic.
General Note:
Originally published in the United States in hardcover by Dodd, Mead & Company, New York, and in paperback by Scholastic, Inc., New York, in 1976.
Reading Level:
540 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR LG 3.8 2.0 164220.


Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
J FICTION Juvenile Fiction Childrens Area

On Order



For decades, Ruth Chew's chapter books about matter-of-fact magic have enchanted early readers. Now a new generation of fantasy fans can discover the magic in these Stepping Stones books.

How do you hide a wizard in the attic?

When Barbara and Rick Benton find a wizard named Harrison Peabody in an old bottle, they quickly discover that magic isn't as simple as it looks. But even tricky magic is better than no magic, and soon the Bentons fly around Prospect Park with a large black umbrella and befriend a sea serpent in the lake. How can they keep Harrison a secret, though, when he's living in their attic?

Author Notes

Working as a fashion artist, she started writing stories about witches for the youngest of her five children. The first of these, The Wednesday Witch, was a big hit, and her new career was born. Ruth Chew went on to write 29 tales of magic and fantasy that have enchanted generations of readers.RUTH CHEW was born in Minneapolis and studied at the Corcoran College of Art and Design in Washington, D.C.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

When Barbara and her brother open an old bottle they have purchased at a Brooklyn supermarket, a wizard emerges genielike and enormous, before shrinking to become a genial man holding a black umbrella. The children hide the rather hapless wizard in their attic and protect him. After he introduces them to his friend George, a sea serpent in Prospect Park Lake, the adventures begin. While the colorful, new jacket art will draw readers, Chew's shadowy graphite drawings work their own magic throughout the book. First published in 1976, this amiable fantasy is like many of Chew's books in that it weaves magical adventures into everyday life. Satisfying fare for kids who enjoy gentle fantasies, the book will also suit younger children reading above grade level. Look for this edition along with several reprints of Chew's other stand-alone titles that have been unavailable for some time, including No Such Thing as a Witch (2013), What the Witch Left (2013), and Magic in the Park (2014).--Phelan, Carolyn Copyright 2010 Booklist

School Library Journal Review

Gr 2-4-Fantasy author Chew knew how to tempt kids: spells, witches, wizards, and sea serpents were all to be found in her burgeoning bag of tricks. Starting in 2013, with No Such Thing as a Witch, and Three Witch Tales, and What the Witch Left, Random House has been rereleasing her books, jazzed up with new jacket art, under the series title "A Matter-of-Fact Magic Book." These offerings all retain Chew's classic black-and-white illustrations, and there's even an Easter egg for readers with a love of all things vintage (removing the dust jacket reveals the old covers by Chew, still intact). Each of these latest rereleases follows a different boy-girl pair through an exhilarating adventure, packed with whimsical details and kid-friendly thrills. In Magic in the Park, Jennifer, a newcomer to Brooklyn, explores Prospect Park with her friend Mike, discovering a strange-and possibly magical-old man who feeds the birds, while in The Would-be Witch, siblings Andy and Robin shrink down to the size of mice and ride a magical flying dustpan, only to find themselves in the company of witches. These titles will attract a new generation of budding fantasy fans. Look for new editions of Chew's other books, still to come. (c) Copyright 2015. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.