Monday, March 18, 2013

The Magic Half by Annie Barrows

From Goodreads: Miri is the only single child in the middle of a family with two sets of twins--older brothers and younger sisters. When the family moves to an old farmhouse Miri accidentally travels back in time to 1935 only to discover Molly, a girl in need of a real family to call her own. A very satisfying classic-in-the-making, with spine-tingling moments, this is a delightful family-friendly middle grade time-slip novel.

My Two Cents: It's refreshing to see a time-traveling adventure story that's so heartfelt and feminine, one with equal parts history and magic. Miri is a sweet and sympathetic character who wants deeply to belong and to do what's right. And, of course, in the end, she's able to do both, in a very satisfying way.

Grade Level: 3-5

Additional Resources:
  • What are the odds of two pairs of twins in a family? Miri's dad says it's one in 8 million, but is that true? What are the odds of three? Read about a real mom with three sets of twins here.
  • Molly travels about 75 years into the future. What do you think the world would look like if you traveled 75 years into the future?
  • Molly lived in 1935, during the Great Depression. Learn more about the Great Depression here.
  • The attic room is like an octagon, or maybe a decagon. What's the difference? Learn all kinds of shape names here.
  • Miri sees some familiar books on the shelf--Little Women, Eight Cousins, Five Children and It. Were these books really published by 1935? Why do you think Annie Barrows mentions them in this book?
  • Miri finds some old magazines from 1935 in the bench seat and Molly's notebook comes out of an old copy of The Saturday Evening Post. See some of the 1935 covers here. Which one do you think the notebook came out of?

More to Read:
  • Another story of girls who discover something special in the attic of an old house: Palace Beautiful by Sarah DeFord Williams
  • A slightly spookier story of a girl who finds an alternate family in her house: Coraline by Neil Gaiman
  • More fun stories from Annie Barrows about two girls and their adventures: Ivy and Bean (series)


  1. This sounds adorable! My daughter loved the Ivy and Bean books, but hasn't found anything else she liked since. I'll have to try this for her! Thanks for the recommendation!

  2. I read this a while back. And I remember loving it! But it's been too long. I think I need to read it again!