Magical Mischief by Anna Dale

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Magical Mischief by Anna Dale

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Category: Confident Readers
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Luci Davin
Reviewed by Luci Davin
Summary: Magic runs amok in a bookshop, and Arthur must help the owner to find it a new home.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 304 Date: June 2010
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
ISBN: 978-1408800430

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Mr Hardbattle runs a dusty old bookshop where magic has moved in. Its smell puts customers off and it regularly causes chaos such as the books rearranging themselves of their own accord. But this bookseller is a nice man who doesn’t want to disturb the magic too much by getting out the vacuum cleaner, and on the whole they get used to each other. Now though, he is facing a huge rent increase. Enter two customers, young Arthur and Miss Quint, who agree to help him find a nice new home for the magic, and to help look after the shop while Mr Hardbattle travels to visit some people who have answered an advert offering the magic a new home.

However, Miss Quint cannot resist wishing some characters out of their books. Little girl Susan is nice enough if a bit boring, but some of the other characters turn out to be rather dodgy. This is the starting point of a fun, quirky story, in which Arthur and Miss Quint must sort out a number of problems. I thought it was a really lovely romp and plan to read Anna Dale’s previous books.

I wasn’t quite sure about Miss Quint’s initial portrayal as a slightly clichéd middle aged spinster – she is only a little older than me so shouldn’t seem that old, surely. But Dale does develop her character beyond the stereotype. Susan grows from a very two dimensional character plucked from a book to take on more personality, and Arthur and Miss Quint grapple with the ethical dilemma of whether they should be messing about with characters out of books.

My other favourite character was a toy elephant who has lived in the shop since a little girl forgot to take him home with her more than ten years ago. He gets all excited and moves forward every time a child comes in to the shop hoping it is his little girl.

Thank you to Bloomsbury for sending this charming story to the Bookbag.

Other stories about magic include Anna Dale’s previous books – Spellbound is reviewed here – and Diana Wynne Jones’ novels such as Charmed Life and Enchanted Glass.

Buy Magical Mischief by Anna Dale at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Magical Mischief by Anna Dale at

Buy Magical Mischief by Anna Dale at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Magical Mischief by Anna Dale at


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