Half Magic by Edward Eager published by Harcourt; (March 1999)
If you like fantasy, here's the book for you. Half Magic is an exciting story about 4 children during the summer who find a strange talisman. At first they think it's just a coin, but then things start to happen. Things like a surprise trip to the Sahara Desert with an arab kidnapper, a playhouse fire, a half-invisible girl, a half-talking cat, and other strange things. Usually their summers are quite dull, with their mother working all the time and being stuck at home with a strict house keeper, but this summer turns out to be quite different.
The main characters in this weird, but wonderful, book are 4 children, Jane, Mark, Katherine and Martha who are siblings. Jane, who is the oldest, is the one who actually found the talisman. She is the one that is sort of in charge of what they do with the talisman because she is the one who found it, and because she is the oldest. Mark is always very frustrated because he is the only boy. He feels no one understands him. Katherine is supposed to be the "docile one, and a comfort to her mother." She likes Shakespeare and poetry very much. Martha is the youngest and always feels left out. She doesn't get much say in what they do with the talisman and she can't keep up with the rest when they walk. There's also one more character named Mr. Smith who is the only adult who understands the unique magic of the talisman.
I liked this book very much. It is good for all ages. It's a very funny book, and lots of the situations the talisman gets them into will leave you smiling or even laughing. I like the style of writing that is used in this book because it is easy to understand, but at the same time it enhances the weirdness of the situations they end up in. Parts of it could be more exciting, and at the end it is sort of strange but it is great all the same. It is very creative and I think it is a great book for kids.