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Magic or Not? (Well Wishers, #1)
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Magic or Not? (Tales of Magic #5)

really liked it 4.00  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,962 Ratings  ·  63 Reviews
The magic begins when Laura and her family--brothers James, baby Deborah, and her parents--move to a country house in Connecticut. There is a well in the yard, and Laura is the kind of girl who believes in making wishes.

Her first wish comes true, and this sets off a round of adventures for Laura, James and two neighbors, Kip and Lydia, who mix what seems to be genuine mag
Paperback, 197 pages
Published January 2001 by Scolastic Inc. (first published 1959)
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Jun 06, 2016 Qt rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Charmingly written, and a delightful story--I was kind of disappointed by part of the ending, which almost made me give this 3 1/2 stars. Still, I thoroughly enjoyed the rest of the book and I've always liked Edward Eager's writing style.
Mar 30, 2008 Karen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book, and "The Well-Wishers," were probably my two least favorite Edward Eager magic books, because he started waffling about whether the magic was really happening or not. I *hated* that! The thing that made his other books so much fun (especially when I first read them as a child) was that he wrote about ordinary kids who had real magic adventures. I don't know what made him suddenly start prevaricating about the magic, but I found it very frustrating!
Jul 24, 2012 CatholicBibliophagist rated it it was ok
Shelves: kid-lit, 2012
Edward Eager was one of my favorite authors when I was a child. However, I only read Magic or Not and its sequel, The Well Wishers once or twice. (The others I read countless times!)

What I liked about Eager's other books was that magical adventures befell ordinary children living in ordinary neighborhoods in the United States. But in Magic or Not the very existence of magic is very ambiguous. In fact, the characters themselves aren't sure whether the wishing well is granting their wishes or if e
Mar 07, 2013 Charity rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kids
Although it's listed as Book #5 of the "Tales of Magic" series, this book features all new characters and no cameos from the children from the other books at all.

I have the sense that Eager really hit his stride with this book. It flows more smoothly from chapter to chapter, and the adventures in the story link together better than in the previous four books. I loved the other four, but this one is just more tightly written and more satisfying to me. My daughter enjoyed it, too. She's not a huge
So I seem to be reading this series backwards. Anyhow it was lovely charming story.
But I was a bit put out by one thing in the end. Did they or did they not return Mrs T Witherspoon's desk? And did she find out? I would bloody like to know because my heart was racing when they (the 5 children) carried it away in the middle of the night. Yes its fine and well to say magic was in the air and the identical desks needed to be reunited. But I kinda had a heart failure. I guess I take things far too
Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance
One of the Edward Eager books I missed
as a child. Laura moves into a new
home with a well that, according to
knowledgable sources, grants wishes.
What wishes will the well willingly
Fantasy Book Addict
Jan 06, 2015 Fantasy Book Addict rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy

Magic or Not? is a bit different than all of the other Tales of Magic books, but it is still quite enjoyable and a great addition to the series.

In this novel their are four children, later on five, who go on what they believe to be magical adventures given to them by a wishing well. However, they are never sure whether or not it really is magic or if it is just a coincidence. This is what made the story interesting and kept it a bit more real, like how childr
Dec 06, 2008 Rowan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People who love juvenile fantasy
Shelves: ya, fantasy, fiction
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 27, 2012 Tiffany rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Magic or Not? is quite an endearing book; it made me feel like magic is possible if we choose to believe in it. The overall theme concentrated on, just as the title suggests, the kids' (mainly Laura and James) frames of mind and their search for whether or not magic really existed? The scariest part might have been when they found themselves in an empty cottage with the presence of someone they couldn't quite see. Otherwise, the book is very down to earth; the author built a steady and soothing ...more
More of the same. Although I did appreciate that in this one they're never sure if it was magic or luck. (Which means Eager can't rescue the kids with some random Deus Ex Machina magic.) I'd prolly stop the series but the kids want to continue, and the books are just good enough to keep my interest.
Denise Spicer
Oct 20, 2015 Denise Spicer rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
When Laura and James move to a new home in the country they find new friends and magic adventures. Is it the wishing well on their historic property or do things just turn out right as they attempt good deeds for their new neighbors? In the end all achieve their hearts’ desires
Jul 23, 2013 Eowyn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Hmm, this was fun to read out loud and very well-written as all Edward Eager's books are. Great girl and boy characters and I love how they work together and interact, especially since two of them are siblings. But there really isn't any magic in this book--it's more about kids creating magic and adventure for themselves. And they do have adventures and meet all sorts of people and effect change in their community and it's all very fun and charming. I think I just prefer the ones like Knight's C ...more
Sarah Adamson
An interesting twist on the magic fantasy series - is there magic or not? Are they getting good things when they help others and penalized when they don't do things right?
A fun twist - possibly slightly beyond the intended age group. Interesting!
Nov 05, 2010 Tiffany rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: series
Wow... so I did read this book already! And I actually gave it 3 whole stars? Well, at the moment, I'm reading it again, because I wanted to see whether or not to donate it away. It looks like I'm going to because it's really boring, just like Half Magic. The Chicago Tribune says, "Inventive..... by all odds his best." So true, considering how BAD all the other ones were. It was even funny when Laura, the main character said that she loved the book Half Magic. Aside that I thought that Half Magi ...more
This is the fifth book in the Tales of Magic series by Edward Eager.

I thought it was pretty humorous that the first book in the series, Half Magic, is mentioned as one of Laura's favorite books and that "just about everyone has" read it. (p. 25)

interesting quotes:

"It was a creaking sound, just the kind of noise that magic might make if it were winding the bucket up from its watery depths to get at the wish." (p. 17)
This is a charmer, the author is able to straddle the way a kid thinks with the humor of an adult! I wish I had read these when _I_ was a kid myself, but better late than never.
May 07, 2011 Jared rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Another wonderful book by Eager! I simply can't say enough about these magical books by Eager. Every one I've read so far has been thoroughly enjoyable. In this book the children encounter a wishing well and begin making wishes, but are their adventures a result of the wishes or just coincidence? One thing that is so great about these books is that the children really act like how kids should be in summer time: adventuresome, imaginative and full of play. And no electronics!! If you have even th ...more
Oct 16, 2012 Celeste rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, re-read
The first four books in this series gets 5 stars from me, but this third pair (along with The Well-Wishers) is my least favorite of the groupings within the series. That's not to say it isn't great, but — maybe because the whole point is the ambiguity of the magic — it's not quite as exciting or, well, magical as the others. I really like one little detail Eager threw in, though — the characters in this pair have read the earlier Eager books (specifically, Half Magic). Therefore, it sort of make ...more
Mar 22, 2012 Audrey rated it really liked it
Cami brought this home from school; it was given to her as part of some reading initiative. The author's name was familiar to me, in the same vein as Joan Aiken or E. Nesbitt. And even though these were quite the kinds of books I would have ADORED as a young reader, I don't think I read many of them. Perhaps Half Magic? That one sounds familiar, but I'm just not sure. Anyway, this one was great fun -- it's the nostalgic kind of magic realism that seems so common to a certain type of novel for yo ...more
Mar 17, 2014 Barb rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The children meet some neighbors in their new home and help solve some problems through a magical wishing well.
Marissa Patterson
Another summer pool book. Not as good as Half Magic, but not bad.
Feb 23, 2016 Elise rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not a bad little story. Pretty easy to read. Not as interesting as Half Magic, but still a cute premise.
Oct 14, 2008 Maria rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult-a-e
Sigh. This is one of those books that I loved as a child and has not held up well for me. Not enough nuance in the characters. And the premise of the magic maybe not being magic but just a way of looking at the world was a bummer too. But the more I read the book, the more like spirituality it seemed to me. That it doesn't matter if something is "real" or not, just that you believe in it. That believing in something, if it causes you to look at the world in a positive way can have magical result ...more
Jul 12, 2009 Mimi rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book made me "never say never." Never lose hope. Thus, although I don't BELIEVE in my intellect that there's some world beyond this one, I can't help but have that miniscule amount of hope in my heart--just as the children in this book never could know for sure the magic really intervened in their lives, but certainly seemed to.
May 23, 2007 Kate rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Edward Eager's books are classics, and some of my very favorites from childhood. The illustrations by N.M. Bodeker were a huge influence on me, and I loved the stories (you think Harry Potter is original? Hardly). These are excellent books, published mid-century, that build on a foundation laid decades earlier by masters like E. Nesbit.
J review:

I think this book is very exciting. Sometimes it was so exciting that I didn't want to turn the page. I love Edward Eager books and I'm reading them again. I'm actually still not sure if it was magic or not and I like books like that. You need to go to the library right now and get the first book, Half Magic!!!!
Nov 26, 2007 Donna added it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: young children
I had never read this Edward Eager book - new family, new magic - related to the wishing well in their front yard. This time the magic is iffy - is it magic or is it coincidence? Or would it have happened anyway? I liked it - but not as much as Half Magic. Fun to read about Connecticut of my memory.
Deborah Harris
AR Quiz No. 32199 EN Fiction
Accelerated Reader Quiz Information IL: MG - BL: 4.7 - AR Pts: 5.0
Accelerated Reader Quiz Type Information AR Quiz Types: RP
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Eager was born in and grew up in Toledo, Ohio and attended Harvard University class of 1935. After graduation, he moved to New York City, where he lived for 14 years before moving to Connecticut. He married Jane Eberly in 1938 and they had a son, Fritz.

Eager was a childhood fan of L. Frank Baum's Oz series, and started writing children's books when he could not find stories he wanted to read to h
More about Edward Eager...

Other Books in the Series

Tales of Magic (7 books)
  • Half Magic (Tales of Magic, #1)
  • Knight's Castle (Tales of Magic, #2)
  • Magic by the Lake (Tales of Magic, #3)
  • The Time Garden (Tales of Magic, #4)
  • The Well-Wishers (Tales of Magic, #6)
  • Seven-Day Magic (Tales of Magic, #7)

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