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The Magic Half

The Magic Half

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The Magic Half

4/5 (19 valoraciones)
171 página
2 horas
Aug 10, 2010


From New York Times bestselling author of the Ivy and Bean series and blockbuster The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society comes a sweet and charming time travel story.

Miri is the non-twin child in a family with two sets of them-older brothers and younger sisters. The family has just moved to an old farmhouse in a new town, where the only good thing seems to be Miri's ten-sided attic bedroom. But when Miri gets sent to her room after accidentally bashing her big brother on the head with a shovel, she finds herself in the same room . . . only not quite.

Without meaning to, she has found a way to travel back in time to 1935 where she discovers Molly, a girl her own age very much in need of a loving family. A highly satisfying classic-in-the-making full of spine-tingling moments, both books in the delightful time-travelling Molly and Miri series is perfect for the whole family.

Don't miss the sequel:
Magic in the Mix

Awards for The Magic Half
The Virginia Readers' Choice Award list (2010-2011)
Missouri Mark Twain Reader Award nominee (2010-2011)
Kentucky Bluegrass Award Nominee
2011 Rhode Island Children's Book Award
2011 Massachusetts Children's Book Award
2011 Washington State Sasquatch Reading Award
Masterlist: 2011-2012 Florida Sunshine State Young Reader's Award (grades 3-5)
Aug 10, 2010

Sobre el autor

Annie Barrows was an editor at Chronicle Books before becoming a full time writer. She has written several adult titles including the New York Times bestseller The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, as well as the highly acclaimed children's series Ivy and Bean and The Magic Half. Annie lives in Northern California with her husband and two daughters. www.anniebarrows.com

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Vista previa del libro

The Magic Half - Annie Barrows

For Jeffrey

Table of Contents

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16


A Note on the Author

Books by Annie Barrows

Enter the Magical World of E. D. Baker!

Don’t miss a single day at the magical Castle Glower!...



Only Miri had no twin. People always said, Two sets of twins! That must have been quite a surprise! They would smile at Miri’s parents and shake their heads in wonder.

When she was younger, Miri had been proud of it. After all, as her father loved to remind them, only one in fifty thousand families had two pairs of twins. It was like being world champion of something. But after a while, Miri noticed that none of the smiling people ever looked at her. Their eyes moved from Ray and Robbie on one side to Nell and Nora on the other, slipping right over Miri in the middle.

What about two pairs of twins and an extra? Miri had asked once. She was curled up on the old blue couch in her father’s cozy office. How many families have that?

Her father had turned a slow circle in his swivel chair before he answered. I don’t think they have statistics like that, baby. But you’re part of a special family.

Ha, she thought, burrowing into the faded pillows. I’m just the extra, not the special.

Now the couch was gone, and she missed it. It had been sold, along with all the other things that Miri’s mother had decided weren’t good enough to move to the new house. It would probably be months before the new owner of the couch discovered that Miri had cut a hunk out of the bottom of one of the cushions to remember it by. Miri smiled craftily at herself in the bathroom mirror.

She had to admit that the new house wasn’t all bad. The bathroom mirror was tinted pink, for instance, which made her look good. The bathroom door locked, too. Since they moved, Miri had spent a lot of time in there. Hello, me, she said pleasantly to her pink reflection. She had toothpaste on her nose. She wiped it away, and a little breeze wafted a piece of hair over her forehead. The new house was full of breezes that seemed to come from nowhere. We’re going to freeze this winter, Miri told her reflection. Like an answer, another gust ruffled her hair.

Miri shook her half-straight, half-curly hair over her face. Her glasses glinted through the strands, so she took them off. I’m the Wolf Princess, she thought, cursed to take on wolfish form when the moon grows full. My terrified family locks me in the bathroom, fearful of the destruction I may cause. Miri paused to snarl wolfishly and then continued, Shut up and forgotten, I spend years in solitude, eating bread that my family shoves under the door. But one night, as the full moon rises, I escape out the window—Miri squinted at the bathroom window. She thought it looked big enough—and tear through the countryside, causing mayhem among the villagers. Only one person is bravebrave enough to pursue the Wolf Princessand his name is

Miri! her mother called down the hall. Have you seen the girls?

Miri put her glasses back on. No.

There was a pause. What are you doing in there? asked her mother, outside the bathroom door now.

Nothing. Even in her human guise, the Wolf Princess had long, silvery hair that shone strangely in the moonlight.

Come down and have some breakfast, then.

Farewell, Wolf Princess, said Miri silently and opened the door. Her mother looked at her with a questioning smile. You okay?

Don’t you think I’d look cool with silver hair?

Her mother considered. At sixty, yes. At eleven, no.

The big, square kitchen, filled with summer light, was empty. But Nell and Nora had been there: an almost-empty ice-cream carton lay in a thickening mint-chip puddle on the counter. Miri’s mom walked to the stove and poured herself a large cup of coffee. She contemplated the mess gloomily. Those girls are a menace, she said.

Miri stood next to her. It’s not so bad, she said. Remember the time they cut the eggs with scissors?

Her mother giggled. You’re right. That was worse. I guess they’re trying to tell me that they’re tired of cereal. She opened a cupboard and scanned the shelves. There’s nothing else to eat, though. I should go to the store today. But what I really should be doing is setting up my office. She tapped her fingers against the cupboard door. "I wish your daddy wasn’t at that stupid conference. I don’t see why anybody needs to talk about geothermal energy for ten days, much less a man who— Oh my God!"

Miri looked up, startled. Her mother was gazing in horror at the back porch. Standing outside the screen door were Ray and Robbie. Their T-shirts were streaked with mud and dust. Their hair was thick with cobwebs, and their faces, underneath smears of grime, were blazing with enthusiasm. Hey! Ray yelled. You’ll never guess what!

What happened to you? What are you doing out there? Don’t come inside!

Guess what, Mom! Ray bellowed. There’s stolen stuff! In the house!

Robbie nodded, beaming.

Excuse me? said Miri’s mom.

We met a guy! Who told us! Ray hollered, as if they were miles away instead of just on the other side of the screen.

"Stop! ordered their mother. She looked sternly at her sons. Ray, please stop yelling. Robbie, can you tell me—quietly—why you’re filthy and what stolen stuff you’re talking about? And who this guy is? She nodded at Robbie. Begin."

Miri’s mother was on a campaign to get Robbie to talk more.

Robbie was having none of it. He jerked his head at Ray. Let him tell.

Ray smirked at his mother and continued, As I was saying, we got up super early this morning, like so early the sun was rising, cause we’re going to do track when school starts, and we thought we should start training today. So we decided to run to the creek, swim around in the swimming hole, and run back. He slapped himself proudly on the stomach. Cross-training.

And then? prompted his mother.

And then, Ray continued, we ran through the woods. We did great. Except Robbie tripped on a root or something and cut himself because he’s a dweeb. Robbie smacked his brother on the back of the head. Get out, said Ray, smacking him in return. Anyway, we were trying to run without any sound, like those Indian dudes, but Robbie made a lot of noise when he fell and Mr. Guest heard us.

Miri imagined running from tree to tree, silent as air. Maybe sometime she could go along with them. Who’s Mr. Guest? she asked.

He’s the guy! Ray said impatiently.

Which guy? wondered Miri.

But Ray was continuing, He said we scared all the fish away when we were running around in the woods, even though we didn’t really make that much noise. Anyway, he’s this old guy, like really old, who’s lived in the valley for a million years, and you know what he says? He says—

He says there’s stolen stuff under our house! Robbie blurted.

Under this house? said Mom doubtfully.

Well, it might be under the house, Ray said. "Mr. Guest said ‘on the property.’ But no one knows where. He says way back in the twenties or something there was a guy who lived here who was a thief, and he buried the junk he stole here, and after he was gone, nobody ever found it. It could be jewelry, he said. Isn’t that sick?"

His mother smiled at him. That’s pretty sick, all right.

Maybe it’s bones, said Robbie in a dreamy voice.

It better not be, said Mom firmly. So—let me guess how you got all those cobwebs in your hair. You crawled under the house to look for this stuff. Right?

Yeah. So far, though, we only found a rake, said Ray. We’re going to look some more after breakfast. We’re starving, he added.

Robbie nodded vigorously.

I’ll get you all some cereal, said Mom. But boys, I’m not so crazy about the idea of you messing around under the house. There’s a lot of nasty stuff under houses, and your father will have a fit if you knock out any of those furnace ducts. Why don’t you look in the yard?

Mom! groaned Ray. A thief wouldn’t put his loot out in the yard where anyone could find it. That’d be stupid! He’d have buried it under the house, in a hidden place. Robbie nodded in agreement.

You know, said Mom hopefully, there was a barn on this property a long time ago. It was somewhere out in back, near the apple trees, I think. He could have buried it in the barn.

Mom! Come on! We’re not complete morons. We won’t touch the furnace, we promise. Just let us look under the house. Please!

Their mother sighed. All of my children are horribly stubborn. She yanked gently on Miri’s hair. All except you, thank goodness. Okay, boys, you can look under the house, but carefully. Don’t touch the furnace or the water heater. And watch out for spiders.

Can I help? asked Miri eagerly.

Ray and Robbie glanced at each other. Then Robbie gave her one of his wide, sweet smiles and said, Maybe later you can help, Miri. Today, Ray and I want it to be just us. Okay? Saying no to Miri was always his job.

Now guys, that’s not right, objected Mom. If there’s buried loot, it’s as much Miri’s as yours. But honey, she turned to Miri, her face pleading, "it’s your turn to look after the girls this morning. The boys will do it this afternoon—oh, don’t give me that look, you two—and Miri, you can go look for buried treasure then. But this morning, I have to get my office unpacked. My syllabus is due next Tuesday, and I can’t even find most of my files."

Miri nodded, but she said nothing. That wasn’t what she wanted—to go hunting alone. She wanted to crawl under the house with Ray and Robbie. She wanted to dig in the mysterious dirt. She wanted to hear her shovel knock against a hard surface and call out, Hey, guys, I think I hit something. She wanted them to come rushing over to her spot and scrape frantically, all three of them, until the dull shine of a metal box appeared in the flashlight beam. She wanted them to let out an admiring breath and say, Wow, Miri, you did it. But that’s not what they wanted. They just wanted each other.

Her mother slipped an arm around her shoulder. You know how much I appreciate it, honey. Tell you what. Next week, after my deadline, we’ll go hunting together. We’ll find that old treasure before the boys do.



Stop yelling about that stupid doll! It was Ray’s voice.

Sierra is my baby and I’m the mommy! Nell was screeching.

"She’s not Sierra, she’s Amber!" hollered Nora.

"Who cares about your ugly doll?" thundered Robbie.

Out in the leafy backyard, Miri turned in time to see a naked doll sail out the back door and land with a thud in a pile of dust. Instantly, shrill screams erupted from Nell and Nora, together with aggravated yells from Robbie and Ray. Miri giggled. Her brothers were finally babysitting their little sisters, and she was glad to see that they were being driven out of their minds. Served them right. Robbie and Ray had a genius for disappearing when they were supposed to watch Nell and Nora.

Feeling free, Miri turned and wandered down the faint dirt path that led through the lawn to an enormous overgrown tangle of blackberry bushes. The new house was much larger than their tidy home in the city, but it was more disorganized, too, with rooms popping out on the sides and a saggy porch in the back. Its gray paint was peeling, but the roof was edged with lacy carved wood, heavy vines cloaked the front porch in green shadows, and there were stained glass windows that sent jeweled light shimmering through the

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19 valoraciones / 13 Reseñas
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  • (4/5)
    Reread for the Children's Books group discussion.

    I agree with those who have said it nicely fills a niche for the younger readers. I'd still be careful about sharing it with sensitive children - Horst was truly scary, because he's all too realistic and not leavened with any ridiculousness or vulnerability.

    I have to say, the ending was just exactly what it was supposed to be. The *point* of the book was to do what Grandma May knew they would do, and set things right, make things turn out just this way. Sure, I can see wanting a different ending, but that would be a different book.

    I really liked all the little details that made the characters come alive. Her knuckle hurt from all the chewing it had had lately. Miri took an experimental bite of her thumbnail. Not so good, but better than nothing."

    And about the twin thing - I bet Miri's siblings didn't always feel grateful for being special. Sometimes 'those girls' would want to be each themselves, and to always have new neighbors and teachers fixating on your unique family must be draining. It's going to be interesting for Miri now that she's going to be able to see what her siblings have been going through since birth.

    I'm not much for rereading, but this was worth it."
  • (5/5)
    Just finished it last night and loved it.Very very very good.
  • (3/5)
    A fun story that uses a mix of magic and time travel.
  • (4/5)
    Miri lives in a family of 2 older twin brothers and 2 younger twin sisters. After moving into an old house, she finds an eyeglass lens in her attic room that sends her back to the same house in 1935. There she finds Molly, a girl in a Cinderella-type situation, who needs help. Good time-traveling fun and teaching some bad guys a lesson. Nice characters and friendship. For girls who want to belive in magic!
  • (3/5)
    Eleven-year-old Miriam Gill - Miri for short - is continually the odd one out in her family, excluded by both her twin elder brothers, Robbie and Ray, and by her twin younger sisters, Nell and Nora. When the family move into a rambling old house on Pickering Lane, Miri has no idea that a magical adventure will soon bring her something she has always wanted: a close companion and twin sister of her own. Banished to her room shortly after a disastrous fight with Ray, Miri discovers an odd piece of glass taped to the wall, and gazing through it, is drawn back in time to 1935, where she meets a young girl named Molly, living in the same house on Pickering Lane. Soon discovering that Molly is both unhappy - her adoptive aunt and cousins are often unkind to her, treating her like a poor relation - and in danger from her brutish cousin Horst, who is a thief and bully (and potentially worse), Miri is determined to help. When she finds herself unexpectedly in the present once more, she is desperately afraid of what might be happening (or might have already happened) to Molly back in the past. Can Miri find her way back to 1935? And if she does, will she be able to save Molly...?Chosen as our February selection in The Children's Fiction Book Club to which I belong, The Magic Half is an entertaining time-slip fantasy for middle-grader readers, featuring two appealing but believable young heroines, and an engrossing story that will keep readers involved until the very end. Although it took me a few chapters to become really invested in it, by the latter half of the book I was racing for the end, determined to see how it would all work out. Horst makes for an atypically realistic villain - he is really a very creepy character for a book aimed at this age level, I think - and Molly is just different enough from Miri, in terms of vocabulary and knowledge, that the reader can believe she is from 1935. The time-travel itself is never really explained - save that it was meant to be, because (according to Molly's fairy-like Grandma May) "magic is a way of setting things right" - but the mechanics of the travel, how seeing through each girl's set of glasses takes you into her time, is interesting. I appreciated the scene in which Miri really begins to think about the nature of time, and how different choices could lead events in so many different directions. Although Barrows never uses the term, Miri is clearly struggling towards an understanding of the concept of a multiverse.All in all, The Magic Half is an engaging time-slip tale, one I would recommend to middle-grade readers with a taste for such stories, as well as to children who feel a little left out in their families, or who long for something magical to happen to them.
  • (3/5)
    Time travel from 1935. Interesting that the 75 years provides a character still alive. Otherwise I like Ivy and Bean better.
  • (3/5)
    Miri feels like the odd-girl-out in her family since she is the middle child between two sets of twins. Robbie and Ray are 13; Nell and Nora are four. Miri is always in a dreamworld pretending magic is guiding her existence. The whole family just moved to an old, delapidated farm house out in the country. Miri wanders the gardens and the outbuildings looking for treasures, pretending she see silvery wings, and hoping for a magical friend. One day, she happens to see a eyeglass piece taped to wall board...when she looks through it, she is transported back through time to 1935. There she meets Molly, an orphan who is being raisied by a cruel aunt and her children. Molly fears for her life and pleads with Miri to take her back to her world. Somehow they find a way to travel back and forth between the two periods of time and arrive back in Miri's house at the same time and in the same year. What is awaiting them is the surprise of their lives. All of Miri's magical daydreams just might be reality.
  • (3/5)
    Miri is a middle child. Not only that, but she is the only one of her siblings that is not a twin. Through the help of magical glasses, she is able to go back in time to 1935 and meets a girl named Molly, who may turn out to be her long-lost twin! Delightful time-travel story.
  • (3/5)
    Barrows, AnnieThe Magic Half2009. 224pp. $6.99 pbk. Bloomsbury. 978-1-5999-0358-3. Grades 5-8Miri feels left out because she is the only single child in a family full of twins. Even when she tries to explore the farmhouse where her family moved, her brothers and sisters get in the way. But one day, Miri finds a lens from a pair of glasses taped to the wall of her room, and when she looks through it, she is transported back in time to 1935, where a girl named Molly just Miri's age lives with her mystical grandmother and her cruel aunt and cousin. Miri becomes determined to rescue Molly and bring her back to Miri's own time, but the rules of time travel are stranger than even Miri can guess. Miri is an engaging, determined character who believes thoroughly in magic and is proven right within the course of her story. Middle children or children who sometimes feel left out of sibling relationships might particularly enjoy this story. Recommended for older children who like magical realism.
  • (5/5)
    In THE MAGIC HALF by Annie Barrows, a twelve year old girl named Miri is disenchanted with being the only non-twin among her siblings.Time travel, along with a series of adventures, helps Miri discover a new confidant. Molly comes from a different upbringing. Molly's friendship causes Miri to develop self-confidence, bravery, and curiosity.There is also a wonderful element of magic in the story. The magic leads Molly to ask some profound questions about her childhood, and place in the world!I would certainly recommend this book to a sensitive middle-grade audience. Barrows has a remarkable affinity for conveying very sophisticated themes for an 8-12 y/o audience.-Breton W Kaiser-Shinn
  • (4/5)
    This is the story of a lonely little girl stuck in the middle of two sets fo twins. She moves into a new house and finds a lens from an old pair of glasses. When she looks through it she is transported back to 1935 where she meets a little girl in trouble, living in the same house, just years before. The two girls figure out how the glasses work and in the end they both both come back to the future and by doing this they changed history and the two girls end up being twins sisters.It was a fun story about magic and time travel, I think that it would be fun to talk about how much things have changed since 1935, what 1935 was like, what you would change if you had the chance, as well as just being a good book for fun and using your imagination.
  • (4/5)
    A good offering for the 5th/6th grade reader. Time travel, mystery, magic and a bully getting what he deserves are all appeal factors in this offering by the writer of Ivy & Bean (and the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society).
  • (4/5)
    Who needs a fancy time machine when you have a pair of glasses...magic glasses of course. Miri Gill discovers a lens from a pair of glasses when her family moves into an old house. Looking through the lens magically transports her to the same house in 1935 where she meets a girl named Molly. Molly's father left her with her mean relatives six years ago. In Cinderella-like fashion, Miri makes it her mission to recuse Molly from this cruel life and bring her to the twenty-first century. The obstacles: Molly's cruel cousin Horst, finding a lens that will take them home, and of course trying not to alter the future timeline. A great mix of magic, time travel, and mystery. Anyone who's ever felt left out or wished for a twin will enjoy Miri's tale. The mystery of the story and Miri's brave quest to save Molly keep the excitement going until the surprise ending. Great book!!