Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Discovering Pig Magic

Discovering Pig Magic

Julia Crabtree
For ages 12 and up
Unabridged audiobook (CD)
Performed/read by: Tavia Gilbert
Blackstone Audio, Inc., 2009   ISBN: 1441702008

For her thirteenth birthday Mattie is given a pig pencil holder and a pig picture to add to her already considerable collection of piggy items. Mattie lost interest in pig collectibles a long time ago, but she cannot seem to get up the courage to tell her mother, her father, and her aunt, who keep giving her piggy gifts. Since her parents divorce, everything has been such a mess that Mattie does not want to rock the boat further by telling everyone that she hates pigs

Not long ago Mattie found a book of magic, and now she has decided to perform a magic ritual, which she hopes will help bring positive change into her life. Her two best friends Ariel and Nikki, who also have problems, join Mattie in the ritual. At first things go very well and Mattie dares to hope that the ritual has worked. Then things get much much worse. Mattie’s mother’s depression develops into acute agoraphobia, Ariel and Mattie have a fight, and Nikki’s baby brother gets even sicker than he was before. Mattie becomes convinced that the only solution is to undo the ritual before anything else goes wrong. It never occurs to her that the magic she seeks is inside her, and that she can bring about change herself if she really chooses to.

This powerful and often amusing novel looks at what is like to live with a depressed parent in a meaningful and accessible way. It also explores the idea that one cannot rely on outside forces to fix problems. Sometimes change lies within us, and all one has to do is to take courage and face the problem head on.

In her narrative, Tavia Gilbert perfectly captures Mattie’s teenage personality, complete with her occasional petulance and sudden flashes of hope.