It all begins with a strange coin on a sun-warmed sidewalk. Jane finds the coin, and because she and her siblings 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?
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, Fritz, that he began writing children’s stories. His classic Tales of Magic series started with the best-selling Half Magic, published in 1954. 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.”
Alice Hoffman is the author of many books for children including Aquamarine, Green Angel, and Nightbird. Her books for adults include Practical Magic, The Museum of Extraordinary Things,The Dovekeepers and The Marriage of Opposites. Half Magic is her favorite book for children and Edward Eager is her favorite children’s book author.
“Half Magic is a funny, charming, timeless book, as much a pleasure to read to a child now as it was forty years ago. Those who had it read to them then may even have an obligation to pass on the pleasure.” —The New York Times Book Review * "Ingenious make-believe. . . . Satisfying variety, surprise, and laughter. . . . A book children will want to read at one sitting." —Library Journal, starred review —