Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Magic by the Lake” as Want to Read:
Magic by the Lake
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Magic by the Lake (Tales of Magic #3)

4.06 of 5 stars 4.06  ·  rating details  ·  3,654 ratings  ·  102 reviews
When wishing for magic, it's hard not to wish for too much.

If Jane, Mark, Katharine, and Martha had stopped to think -- oh, if they had only stopped to think! -- they would have ordered magic by the pound, or by the day, or even by the halves as they had in Half Magic.

But no, they asked for magic by the lake -- and now they have to deal with a whole lakeful of enchantment!
Paperback, 190 pages
Published 1999 by Odyssey Harcourt Classics (first published 1957)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Magic by the Lake, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Magic by the Lake

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
mark monday
oh, Edward Eager, you really seem like a swell guy. a family man but not one of those mawkish mewling types who always seem to be about to burst into tears when they talk about their fam. you get kids and you don't bring a lot of sentimentality to the table either; you capture the cheerfulness & the mood swings & the sweetness & a little bit of the sour as well. you root your adventures in prosaic reality but you manage to make prosaic reality not bad, not bad at all, its own sort of ...more
The sequel to Half Magic just doesn't have the same kind of whimsical magic. Adriana and I devoured Half Magic, which I loved as a kid, but this one we kept putting down. Adriana loves to read series (Oz, Little House, Ramona), but this one was better off as a single book. I do like the references to other stories in it, which give me ideas about other things it might be fun to read with her, and I'm looking forward to reading other Edward Eager books with her.
An Odd1
Exciting "gave chase" p 63. More silly than scary. Not too many old sayings. Just enough flapper era for fun.

Magic has rules, limits, misunderstandings. Not quite literal like Amelia Bedelia But same, improved by illustrations. I could wish for color, but not too much in text to go by. Imitating mermaid (hands crossed demurely over front p 15), Jane was "combing her longish ungolden hair" p 30 is dark at 16. Not syrupy sweet, tempers do flare, accidents
After reading Half Magic I was delighted to learn, as was my daughter, that Edward Eager wrote a sequel to it. Unfortunately it was considerably less charming than the original. I got the feeling that Eager felt pressured (maybe by his publisher, maybe by himself) into writing this book to capitalize on the success of the first one. But he'd already accomplished what he set out to do in Half Magic, so Magic by the Lake feels forced. In the first story the children do not realize initially that t ...more
If you are a fan of fine children’s literature, Edward Eager is an author you should add to your list. Eager was a British playwright who began to write his own children’s stories when he couldn’t find anything suitable to read to his son. Just as author C. S. Lewis credits George McDonald for influencing every one of his stories, Eager gives author Edith Nesbit the credit for igniting his own story-telling imagination. His books are a lovely combination of realistic children and magical adventu ...more
This sequel to Half Magic is something I read out loud to my children. But it's instructive from a plot perspective. Half Magic introduced a brilliantly simple magical device, and much of the humor and plot spun from its tidy rules. (The gorgeously witty omniscient narration didn't hurt either.)

Fantasy writers take note--without the inspired "rule" which governs Half Magic, the sequel fails. The magic of this second book is scattershot, and the logic crumbles quickly. Of course I finished readin
Lisa Wolf
I read Magic by the Lake with my 10-year-old, and unfortunately, we were both disappointed. After reading -- and loving -- Half Magic, we expected great things from this sequel. Sadly, Magic by the Lake just doesn't hold up in comparison to Half Magic. The magic in the story is rather amorphous, with weird rules that shift and make little sense, and the entire plot feels a bit haphazard. I've loved a few of Edward Eager's magical books, but Magic by the Lake is not one of the best.
Wait a minute, this is #3? I thought it was the second one in the series and am wondering what I skipped.

Now on to the book!

As with my reading of Half Magic, I wound up not reading verbatim, and again it was less due to my eagerness to see how the story turned out and more that Eager's writing style wore on me a bit. Nonetheless, I understand how his story telling and topic for story telling were an inspiration to the Goodreads author who mentioned him as being such. In particular, Eager wrote
I almost think this should have been book 2, not 3 of the series, since it takes us back to the original four children from the first book, who had grown into adults in book 2. That said, way cute story, the actual non magic part of the vacation the children took by the lake reminded me of stories from my grandparents (and all those references to 1910-20s era music, for example check out the song 'Paddlin' Madelin' Home' if you've never heard it). Other small parts of the tale are a little cultu ...more
Jessica Mcmahon
Be careful what you wish for. When four children decide to take a normal summer trip up to the lake, the result is anything but. There's adventure, (somewhat cartoonish) action, and lots of charming quirks here an there to keep you reading. But will this trip end in tears? And will it change their live?

As a sequel to "Half Magic" I expected it to magical, charming, and cute. What I received is exactly what I expected. It's a fantastic follow-up to a wonderful book, I would definitely read it a
This series is a delight to read aloud, really crisp, well-done writing that makes the children laugh. Eager has really tight grammar, so passages are super for copywriting exercises, too.

The books are older, and in this one there is some questionable racist content (cannibal "savages" who speak in exaggerated stereotypical native " we no seeum") but it provides an opportunity to discuss how that sort of thing used to be common and why it isn't considered kind now.

We are reading these in chrono
This is the third book in the Tales of Magic series by Edward Eager. It's an entertaining, fast read and our oldest and I both read it independently. For some reason, we borrowed this book before Knight's Castle, so we'll plan to read that one next.

It merges the characters from the first two books and it didn't matter too much that we'd read the books in the wrong order. We especially loved the cantankerous old turtle who is magical and wise. The pirates made an exciting and dangerous addition
I enjoyed Magic by the Lake much more than I did the previous book in this series. It was great to read about the adventures of Martha, Katherine, Jane, and Mark again! They are characters who are becoming much more developed and have distinct personalities! I love how their personalities and relationships to each other seem so real (though I am sure there would be more arguing and fighting among four siblings).

In this book the children spend the last part of their summer (only a few weeks after
"Katharine noticed a sign by the front door. … 'Magic by the Lake,' it said.
Katharine looked at Mark, a wild guess in her eyes. 'Do you suppose?' For the four children had had experience of magic, or at least a kind of half magic, in the past.
(After the half magic was over, they wondered if they'd ever have any magic adventures again, and in the book about it it says it was a long time before they knew the answer. And here it was only three weeks later, and already Katharine was ready for mor
Just about the point where the children make the 'magic by the lake' wish, there's a panoramic scene forming a sort of catalog of what SORTS of 'magic' is in the lake. This is obviously strongly influenced by the children's formal and literary education, and especially the sort of library books they've read.

Not surprising, perhaps, since it's initiated by their wish. But it indicates not only the scope but also the limits of where the magic can take them. Though they resist being made to learn
One of my favorite books growing up was Half Magic by Edward Eager. I loved the crazy adventures the four funny siblings got into, the novelty of the old-fashioned setting, and the peculiar nature of the magic they encountered.

This book, which serves as something of a sequel to Half Magic, continues all of those wonderful traits. Jane, Katherine, Mark, and Martha have concluded their adventures with the strange coin that only grants half wishes, and have gone to the countryside with their mother
Feb 08, 2013 Danica rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anybody who wants a fun, fast, comical, classic childhood read.
Aha! this is where this passage is from, that I think about all the time - especially in summer:
'"Coolth,' said Katharine. 'Blessed, blessed coolth.'
'That's no word,' said jane.
'It ought to be,' said Katharine, pressing on."

Edward Eager is a particularly interesting addition to the "kids finding magic" genre, because half of his books just plain HAVE magic, and in the other half, the kids and even the reader are never quite sure whether everything that happens is pure magic or just coincidence.
I've really enjoyed reading Edward Eager's books to my kids, and Magic by the Lake is no exception. As in his earlier books, Eager's descriptions of place are vivid and detailed. They draw me in until I feel almost as though I'm in a cottage on a midwestern lake in summer rather than in a split-level in a suburban neighborhood with a foot of snow on the ground.

My daughter loves how the books link together (and I love that they do so relatively subtly). I won't mention the big link in this one be
This book was not quite as good at Half Magic. The characters were not quite as likable or interesting. And the story was not quite as compelling. Although, I did rather love the turtle. The ending was good, but again, not as good as the first book's.

Magic by the Lake is worth reading, but don't skip reading Half Magic first.

Actual rating: 3.5 stars, but I round up.
Amy Gouker
Aug 24, 2015 Amy Gouker rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Amy by: Alicia Riley
Mr Eager does it again with a delightful sequel to Half Magic, continuing the story of Jane, Mark, Katherine and Martha, who finally get to vacation by the lake. Excellent; perfectly written. My only complaint is that I feel this book should be #2 in the series, not #3 (as the kids are all grown up in book #2). Seems a bit backwards, hence the docking of a star.
Jane, Mark, Katherine, and Martha were at the lake and when they were playing there they discovered a magic turtle that could talk. The turtle said they could wish a few more wishes with the magic charm.
Jane and Katherine wished that they could be twelve at very moment and as soon as they wished it they were taller and they were twelve. Mark and Martha tried to make them turn back to there own self again. They tried talking to them but Jane and Katherine just acted like a twelve year old since t
This is probably my second favourite in the Tales of Magic series, because it follows the kids from Half Magic as they spend their summer in a rented cottage by the lake (obvs).

The title is punny, but I won't tell you how, cos that would ruin the chuckle you'll get out of figuring it out for yourself.

I loved these books so hard when I was a kid, I'm thrilled they still hold up. Time to start forcing them on my own kids.
We're reading this out loud now. I know we're not reading them in the order they were published but we're shooting for more of a chronological sort of thing :-) The chapters take about 50 minutes to read out loud though so it's slow going.

*** We just finished this. It took over a year and that really hurt us. We've read a bunch of other books in the middle. Now my youngest is old enough to basically sit through a chapter (not all take a full 50 minutes) but the language is old and at times sort
Only two stars because this book contains some racism. The parts that don't contain racism are lovely, but I wouldn't read this one to my kids.
Time bobs and reels for Eager in the most interesting way. There's a magic turtle in this one, and many familiar children. There are pirates and mermaid and explorers and some over-the-top cannibals who wouldn't be allowed in any modern book. The parents are agreeably clueless but not idiotic, and the children are prickly and engaging and above all, real. The magic is, well, one would have to call it magical. I keep reading that Eager wrote these in homage to E. Nesbit but I never could get into ...more
This is a wholesome, silly, and fun story for kids and parents. It really captures the innocence of childhood.
Sarah Adamson
I didn't enjoy this quite as much as the first book but still found it a fun and gentle fantasy book.
When he was good, he was very very good, and when he was bad he was boring.
Alexis B
I liked I want to go on the magical adventures with them!
Jane, Mark, Katherine, and Martha are spending the summer at the lake. Then they discover that it's a magic lake. With the help of an old turtle, they make wishes that lead to exciting adventures of all sorts--though mostly wet.

We read this one second. Oops. It starts only a few weeks after Half Magic ends, so it made sense. The kids liked this one, as well. Some parts were a bit slower--like the wish that makes Jane and Katherine older for a night--but then some of the others made up for it--sa
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Vecchio Book Club: Magic by the Lake. 1 1 Jul 27, 2012 07:45PM  
  • The Magic City
  • The Diamond in the Window (Hall Family Chronicles, #1)
  • Return to Gone-Away (Gone-Away Lake, #2)
  • An Enemy at Green Knowe (Green Knowe, #5)
  • The Witch Family
  • Shadow Castle
  • The Magic Summer
  • No Flying in the House
  • Time at the Top
  • Fergus Crane (Far-Flung Adventures, #1)
  • Nightbirds on Nantucket (The Wolves Chronicles, #3)
  • No Such Thing as a Witch
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)
  • The Time Garden (Tales of Magic, #4)
  • Magic or Not? (Tales of Magic, #5)
  • The Well-Wishers (Tales of Magic, #6)
  • Seven-Day Magic (Tales of Magic, #7)
Half Magic (Tales of Magic, #1) Knight's Castle (Tales of Magic, #2) Seven-Day Magic (Tales of Magic, #7) The Time Garden (Tales of Magic, #4) Magic or Not? (Tales of Magic, #5)

Share This Book