Winter Magic by Abi Elphinstone (Editor)

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Winter Magic by Abi Elphinstone (Editor)

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Category: Confident Readers
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Ruth Ng
Reviewed by Ruth Ng
Summary: A beautiful, magical mixture of stories that will charm and entertain and delight.
Buy? yes Borrow? yes
Pages: 400 Date: November 2016
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's UK
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 9781471159800

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With everything from dragons to mysterious crimes, voice-stealing witches to time travel, and magical worlds to first performances of world-famous ballets, this is a collection of short stories that delights from start to finish. Anthologies of short stories can sometimes fall flat, with one or two good ones and then a bunch of mediocre fillers, but this collection has no weak links...all the stories are good, and most of them are brilliant. I felt entirely caught up in each individual world as I read, loving the varied and extremely likeable heroines throughout.

The range of stories have been perfectly selected. They are all winter or Christmas themed, in some way, but nothing felt forced or shoe-horned in. Each story is deftly created, and each time I thought I'd read my favourite I found that the next one was just as good or even better! In Emma Carroll's A Night at the Frost Fair a girl finds herself magically transported back to Victorian England, and a fair on the frozen river Thames. There's a great sense of adventure in the story, and an intriguing time-travel plot. This is swiftly followed by The Magic of Midwinter by Amy Alward which felt like a more modern and humourous (yet still magical) story of an outbreak of the sneasles (snow measles!)

Some of the stories felt like newly created fairy tales, in particular The Voice in the Snow by Michelle Harrison was a gripping read and a brilliant story about a girl who has her voice stolen. This has excitement, intrigue and adventure and was also a very emotionally mature story that I read, gripped throughout. I also enjoyed The Room with the Mountain View by Lauren St John which saw two girls trying to solve a mystery and had the flavour of the old boarding-school adventure stories that I used to read and re-read as a girl. The Snow Dragon by the editor of the book, Abi Elphinstone ends the book perfectly. With Christmas magic and an uplifting, everything will be alright in the end feel, it's an emotional story that, again, is very well written. Although it feels wrong not to mention every story in the book I don't want to spoil all the surprises of what's coming, so you'll have to trust me that they are lovely stories and each one is hard to put down once you begin!

This would be best for confident readers, but I think that it would also work very well as a bedtime book to share with those a little too young to read it themselves, perhaps around seven or eight years old, as the stories would be exciting to listen to, and they are perfect for frosty winter evenings when you're wrapped up tight in bed and just in need of a good story to send you off to sleep. It's also a wonderful prompt to look up these authors and see what else they have written. Highly recommended!

Further reading suggestion: For more short story delights, try Of Lions and Unicorns: A Lifetime of Tales from the Master Storyteller by Michael Morpurgo. For more from Amy Alward, we can recommend The Potion Diaries.

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Buy Winter Magic by Abi Elphinstone (Editor) at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Winter Magic by Abi Elphinstone (Editor) at Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
Buy Winter Magic by Abi Elphinstone (Editor) at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Winter Magic by Abi Elphinstone (Editor) at


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