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Book Club Report: The Time of Green Magic by Hilary MacKay

An update from book club!

Greetings from Book Club! It was a delight to come back together for another book club meeting after the summer vacation. We discussed The Time of Green Magic by Hilary MacKay, an enchanting book in which three step-siblings and their parents move into a mysterious old house in London. At first, the step-siblings are having trouble getting along and getting used to their new family, but as they encounter more and more strange and magical things in the house, they have to work together to help keep each other safe and return a magical creature to his world. 

We had participants from all over the U.S. this time, and everyone had really enjoyed the book. We started off talking about our favorite aspects of the book, and then we talked about how the relationships between the siblings changed as the book went on. People mentioned that they related to the sibling dynamics in the book: how they fought and were different from each other, but ultimately loved each other. 

Next we discussed the mysterious minor character of the neighbor Mrs. Puddock, who is revealed about three-quarters of the way through the book to actually be a toad. We went back and looked at the initial descriptions of Mrs. Puddock to hunt for clues that she wasn’t a human, and that she might actually be a toad. Some people thought from the beginning that she wasn’t human, and some of us were surprised–but we were all surprised to hear that she was a toad. We agreed that this secret gave the book more of a feeling of mystery and suspense. 

Next we talked about the bond between Louis, the youngest sibling, and Iffen, the magical cat who visits him in his bedroom, and gets increasingly huge and dangerous. Some of us mentioned that even though Louis loved Iffen, it was a good thing they returned him to his original habitat, because he was hurting Louis. Other people mentioned that they thought it was a sad, tender, or heartbreaking moment when Iffen got returned, even though they knew that it had to be done. We discussed why we thought Theo, the dad, was unable to see Iffen, and agreed that it was probably because he didn’t believe in magic. 

Last but not least, it was time for some creative writing of our own! In The Time of Green Magic, Abi starts falling into the worlds of the stories she reads. So, the Book Clubbers had a prompt to write about a character falling into a book. What does the world look like? What happens to the character? They also had a second option to write about a real place they’ve been that felt enchanted, like the house in the book felt enchanted. It was so fun to get to hear what people had written! We had pirate ships, snow falling outside of cozy rooms, and a very athletic boy who secretly loves to read! 

I’m excited to meet up again next month, on October 29, 2022, when we will be discussing The Front Desk by Kelly Yang. See you then!

Our Next Book (to be discussed on October 29):

The Front Desk by Kelly Yang

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