Magic Parcel: The Awakening by Frank English

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Magic Parcel: The Awakening by Frank English

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Category: Confident Readers
Rating: 3/5
Reviewer: Linda Lawlor
Reviewed by Linda Lawlor
Summary: A well-imagined tale of a mysterious uncle, a magical parcel and a boy who travels between worlds.
Buy? No Borrow? Yes
Pages: 208 Date: June 2010
Publisher: 2QT Limited
ISBN: 978-0956236852

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Jimmy Scoggins is an ordinary boy of nine, who lives with his mother and his brother. He loves to visit his uncle Reuben, believing the old man must have special powers because he always knows exactly what type of ice cream Jimmy would like to eat that day. Reuben tells Jimmy thrilling tales, and at the beginning of this book actually sends his nephew into another world, called Omnia, for an adventure. Jimmy is not the first boy to go to there: his brother Tommy used to go too, but now he is thirteen he has stopped, feeling it is all rather babyish. But something has gone wrong this time: Jimmy does not return, and Tommy has to cross the barrier between worlds to find him.

Things have changed in Omnia since Tommy's visits: the evil Lord Seth has grown strong, and he is now threatening to take control of the world. Jimmy and Tommy become involved in the struggle for power, and they meet many of the denizens of Omnia, good and bad, in their attempts to retrieve the magic parcel which Jimmy hid in a hollow tree. They are attacked and captured, imprisoned and rescued, and make both allies and enemies before a return to their own world - which is by no means the end of the adventure.

Magic Parcel: The Awakening is a book full of thrilling scenes and heart-stopping adventures. Many creatures there can control minds, and the two brothers go through some uncomfortable and frightening experiences. The author clearly has a vivid imagination, and he has created some memorable characters. The book has the feel of a story from an earlier, slower time: Jimmy has no mobile phone or computer, and many of the expressions he and his family use have a comforting, Yorkshire tang to them which makes a pleasant change from the London and South East (with a dollop of American!) tones of many current stories.

The language in this book is rich, and the author goes to great pains to build tension and atmosphere through highly detailed comparisons and images. There are, to be honest, rather too many of these descriptions, and therefore they lose their impact. Also, although at the beginning of the book Jimmy talks like an ordinary boy, he soon begins to use the same elevated tone as the author, which rings false and makes him sound like a much older person. For example:

I seemed to be there from late afternoon to that twilight time which ushers in the velvety black dark of night.

Not the language of many young boys!

The book ends on a cliff-hanger, with Jimmy in mortal danger. This is a device which has been used by other authors, especially adult ones, but is seems a little harsh for a young reader to spend a long time reading a book which offers no resolution.

Further reading suggestion: A wonderful adventure where myth and reality collide is The Owl Service by Alan Garner.

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Buy Magic Parcel: The Awakening by Frank English at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Magic Parcel: The Awakening by Frank English at


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