Book review: Black and Blue Magic

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Author:Zilpha Keatly Snyder
Reading Level (Conceptual):Children 8 and up
Reading Level (Vocabulary):Children 8 and up
Year of publication:1966

Twelve-year old boy learns to use and appreciate his gifts.
A soothsayer once told Harry that his was "... a rare gift, and his magic will be of a special kind."
Now, many years later, it is summer in San Francisco. It's possible that Harry has heard that same voice intone the words "The air is absolutely heavy with possibilities." Or maybe he dreamed them.
Because he performed a good deed, twelve-year old Harry (interesting name, isn't it? -- my daughter thought so!) receives a gift. As such gifts often do, this one is bestowed with limitations. Harry must never be caught displaying the gift "publicly" lest the giver of the gift be harmed.

My 9 year old loved this story about how Harry learns to take advantage of the gifts with which he's been born and the gift he receives.
Zilpha Keatley Snyder has written MANY books! And all of the ones we have read have held our interest. Black and Blue Magic is based in the San Francisco Bay Area; we really enjoyed the geographic "cameos".
The 9 year old says, "I am SO glad I read this book!"
Much resonance, I thought, with the plight of gifted kids: to use their gifts but to use them in such a way that they do not attract undue attention. And also, that what others might imagine to be the way a gift is to be used may not actually be the way the one who has the gift might choose to use it.

-- Emily Berk

If you found this review helpful and/or interesting, consider supporting our book habit: Buy this book!: Black and Blue Magic

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