The Missing Magic by Kallie George; illustrated by Alexandra Boiger (The Magical Animal Adoption Agency #3)

A new volunteer has joined the Magical Animal Adoption Agency, and Clover’s not too happy about it! Oliver Von Hoof is supposed to be an expert on magical animals, but he’s barely older than Clover. How can he be an expert on anything? And it doesn’t help that Mr. Jams keeps turning to Oliver instead of Clover for help with the animals.

When Mr. Jams is called away from the Agency on a secret mission, Clover and Oliver are put in charge of the Agency once again. But when Picnic the invisible puppy starts turning visible, and the Agency’s green cat, Dipity, begins to look white, Clover and Oliver realize that all of the amazing creatures are becoming ordinary.

Even Oliver’s trusty magical wands aren’t enough to cure them! Will Oliver and Clover learn to work together in time to restore the animals’ magical powers? Alexandra Boiger’s delightful illustrations shine in the third book of Kallie George’s The Magical Animal Adoption Agency series where an open heart can best the nastiest of spells.

Look at the cover. Look at the synopsis. This is an extremely cute book.

Everything Oliver knows comes from books, and he is certain he knows best in every situation. Also, he has a bad habit of not helping Clover clean up the enormous messes he causes, much less manage unruly charges. This does not endear him to her.

Worse, in Clover’s opinion, is that Mr. Jams seems to think highly of Oliver. Clover’s knowledge comes almost entirely from hands-on experience at the Magical Animal Adoption Agency, a safe haven which is beginning to feel less and less like her place.

*Cue jealousy and massive miscommunication*

The Missing Magic demonstrates, albeit in a magical world, the ease with which insecurity and jealousy lead nice, kind people into spite, and then disaster. The outcome may be predictable for older readers, but the build-up draws on feelings all too familiar to most children and adults, and the resolution and eventual reconciliation between Clover and Oliver still takes courage and a lot of good faith. There are also funny moments.

The Magical Adoption Agency is a safe world in which to explore and acknowledge stormy emotions and your own faults – plus, the animals are adorable. Keep your cat, dog, or other beloved pet close to hand as you read: you may just end up spoiling them rotten with cuddles.

I liked the first book in the series, Clover’s Luck, better; on the other hand, The Missing Magic continues the series trend of being sweet without approaching the saccharine. I enjoyed reading it and would have no qualms about recommending it to young middle grader readers.

The Cover Wars: Asexual Protagonists part 1

The Cover Wars: Asexual Protagonists part 1

Here on the Book Wars’ own Cover Wars, we judge books by their covers: front and back, art and blurb. The Cover Wars has a theme this month: books with ace (asexual) protagonists. Some of these characters are aro (aromantic); others are not.   [webcomic by Emily Griggs. Book 1 (of 3) is complete as of […]

Pandas on the Eastside by Gabrielle Prendergast

Pandas on the Eastside by Gabrielle Prendergast

2017/2018 Red Cedar Fiction nominee Pandas on the Eastside by Gabrielle Prendergast is the story of Journey Wind Song Flanagan, who loves her community and all the people that form it. The year is 1972. “There’s a Chinese boat down at the docks. You know about it?” “I heard, yes.” “I need to speak to someone from […]

Everyday Hero by Kathleen Cherry

Everyday Hero by Kathleen Cherry

  Red Cedar fiction (2017/2018) nominee Everyday Hero opens shortly after thirteen-year-old Alice and her dad have moved from Vancouver to Kitimat. A new town, a new school, a new start, that’s what Alice’s dad thinks. “No!” Dad’s voice was so loud I could hear it through my bedroom wall. “No, Lisa! We’ve gone through […]

The Legend of Lightning and Thunder by Paula Ikuutaq; illustrated by Jo Rioux

The Legend of Lightning and Thunder by Paula Ikuutaq; illustrated by Jo Rioux

Paula Ikuutaq’s retelling of the Inuit Legend of Lightning and Thunder opens with a celebration. It is spring, and Inuit people gather together in camps to sing, to dance, and to feast: to share their happiness with each other. Two orphaned siblings, however, are not so happy. A girl and her younger brother have traveled a long […]

Yellow Dog by Miriam Korner

Yellow Dog by Miriam Korner

I want to preface this review by noting that I didn’t tag Yellow Dog under TBW’s Indigenous or First Nations tags despite a Cree protagonist and a narrative focus on relationship and culture, because those tags are for Indigenous-created stories. Although Miriam Korner has studied Cree language and culture, and co-wrote When the Trees Crackle with […]

Book Uncle and Me by Uma Krishnaswami

Book Uncle and Me by Uma Krishnaswami

Red Cedar fiction nominee (2017/2018) Book Uncle and Me by Uma Krishnaswami is completely and utterly charming. It is a sweet, gentle, clear-eyed story about a girl who loves books, and what happens when she rouses her community to activism on behalf of Book Uncle, an elderly man who runs a free lending library. Here’s the […]