Hilary McKay’s latest novel, The Time of Green Magic, is about the merging of families; discovering you can like an unwanted step-sibling.
It’s also about reading, the importance of doing it, what you get out of it (could be a rather damp book, or frostbite), and the many different ways you might learn to read and why you’d want to.
Abi and her dad Theo move in with Polly and her two boys Max and Louis, and her beloved granny finally gets to move back to Jamaica. So it’s all change for everyone, and change is always hard. And then they suddenly need to find a new house to rent, and end up in a lovely ivy-covered tall house that is much too expensive, which is why the adults work extra long hours.
That also leaves room for alarming things to happen, like the pretend – or is it? – pet Louis is visited by in his room. Just like the wet book that fell into the ocean as Abi was reading.
Like in most Hilary’s novels, this is a lovely, if unsettled, family, doing the best they can in a difficult situation. Is Iffen real, or does Louis imagine him? If so, how come Abi and Max can see him too? And where did he come from? How to get rid of him?
There is much love in this story.