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

3.98 of 5 stars 3.98  ·  rating details  ·  1,331 ratings  ·  52 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...more
Paperback, 197 pages
Published January 2001 by Scolastic Inc. (first published 1959)
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Karen
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!
CatholicBibliophagist
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...more
Charity (CJ)
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...more
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
work?
Kristi FitzGerald
These whimsical tales while seemingly a tad old fashioned in language and time period are light-hearted and full of good intention. The writer wanted to write something he could read to his own relations and I think he did a splendid job. The children in this book are splendid. Laura, James, Kip and Lydia who are all great kids with individual quirks that make them interesting. Lydia comes from a strange family and is an artist (and a little bullied even by her classmates) and then comes Gordy w...more
Mary
Dec 06, 2008 Mary rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People who love juvenile fantasy
Shelves: fantasy, ya, fiction
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Tiffany
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
Eowyn
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
Tiffany who finally decided to change her name
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
Jared
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
Celeste
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
Audrey
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
Barb
The children meet some neighbors in their new home and help solve some problems through a magical wishing well.
Maria
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
Mimi
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.
Kate
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.
Nancy
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!!!!
Donna
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
CLM
Even weak Edward Eager is a dozen times better than most books but this and The Well Wishers are his least satisfying books because there really isn't any magic. I like the Bodecker illustrations in all his books and in two other favorites by Evan Commager, however.
Brad
I have to admit, I'm ready to be done with this series. The stories are still fun, and I think that Eager does a great job of portraying real children. The major appeal, again, is the prospect of reading these books with my kids someday.

Rating: G.
Carrieuoregon
Not my favorite in the series, but the kids who are LOVINGHalf Magic would probably enjoy it.
Lela
I do love these books, but they were written more than 50 years ago. I'm reading them out loud to my son, and I find myself skipping over terms that are repeated over and over, like "old lady," and replacing them...
Laura
A good book, but not our favorite by Edward Eager. The fact that the magic was in question made it not nearly as much fun as "Half Magic," "Magic By the Lake" or "Seven Day Magic."
Jeff
The first time I read this was to my daughter a couple years back. She liked the series a great deal. I would say its definitely written for kids, and appropriate for any age.
Cliff
Of all the Edward Eager books, so far this one has been the best. It still is somewhat flawed, but the careful balance of reality versus the supernatural was well done.
Cate
This is only the second Edward Eager book I've read, but I certainly did not enjoy it as much as the other. I was a little disappointed in it, to be honest.
Olivia
I don't remember loving this book.
Kim
Undoubtedly one of the best parts is the last paragraph at the end. This is much less magic & fantasy oriented than the other books I've read by him.
thestorygirl
Another delight. I can't believe his ability to capture the way children think and behave, and the constant and funny literary allusions are an extra treat.
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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
More about Edward Eager...
Half Magic (Tales of Magic, #1) Knight's Castle (Tales of Magic, #2) Seven-Day Magic (Tales of Magic, #7) Magic by the Lake (Tales of Magic, #3) The Time Garden (Tales of Magic, #4)

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