The magic of Edward Eager’s Half Magic isn’t always the actual magic in the book. Yes, there’s a charm that grants wishes (or, to be more accurate, half-wishes!). What’s really magical about the book, is Eager’s way of putting things. Usually, it’s some little aside. Something quick.
And then there is this delightful passage. It happens when the four children (Jane, Mark, Katherine, and Martha) first meet Mr. Smith, a new grown-up that has entered their lives…
The four children generally divided all grown ups into four classes. There were the ones like Miss Bick and Uncle Edwin and Aunt Grace and Mrs. Hudson who—frankly, and cruel as it might be to say it—just weren’t good with children at all. There was nothing to do about these, the four children felt, except be as polite as possible and hope they would go away soon.
Then there were the ones like Miss Mamie King, who—when they were with children—always seemed to want to pretend they were children, too. This was no doubt kindly meant, but often ended with the four children’s feeling embarrassed for them.
Somewhat better were the opposite ones who went around treating children as though the children were as grown-up as they were themselves. This was flattering, but sometimes a strain to live up to. Many of the four children’s school teachers fell into this class.
Last and best and rarest of all were the ones who seemed to feel that children were children and grown ups were grown ups and that was that, and yet at the same time there wasn’t any reason why they couldn’t get along perfectly well and naturally together, and even occasionally communicate, without changing that fact.
Mr. Smith turned out to one of these.
Half Magic, by Edward Eager (Chapter 6)
This is why I love to read (and re-read) books by Edward Eager! It’s the magic of his words. 🙂