Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

The Multiplying Menace

The Multiplying Menace

Amanda Marrone
Fiction  Series
For ages 9 to 12
Simon and Schuster, 2010   ISBN: 141699033X

On her fifth birthday, Maggie Malloy discovered that she could make a wish and it would come true. Unfortunately, the wish she made that day caused quite an uproar, and as a result Maggie has tried, to the best of her ability, to keep her magical ability a secret.

All is going well for Maggie until she dumps a container of cockroaches on the head of the class bully, which makes the bully’s hair fall out. Everyone at Maggie’s school is appalled, her parents are summoned, and Maggie is expelled from the school.

It is decided that Maggie will go to live with her grandmother in Connecticut for a year, and her parents will go to the Amazon to count insects, a prospect that greatly excites them because they are both dedicated entomologists. Maggie’s parents hope that after a year, most of the people in their town will have forgotten what Maggie did.

While Maggie is putting away her clothes in the closet in her new room in her grandmother’s house, she finds some old pieces of paper, one of which is a newspaper page. On the page, she reads an announcement and discovers that her grandfather used to be a partner in a “Magic Repair Shop.”

Despite the fact that her grandmother dismisses Maggie’s interest in the shop, Maggie sets about finding it, and is delighted to discover it is still in existence. Not only that, but Maggie learns that her grandfather was a skilled magician and his old partner, Mr. Maguire is still in the business. Here at last is Maggie’s opportunity to be around people who have the same abilities that she has.

Maggie quickly shows Mr. Maguire what she is capable of when she helps him solve the problem of Milo the Magnificent’s replicating rabbits. Not surprisingly, Maggie is thrilled to be able to share her magical secret with someone and to talk about developing her abilities further. Then she starts to realize that there are some magicians who are not like Mr. Maguire and his friends. There are magicians who are dangerous , and who feel no obligation to use their magicial abilities in a sensible and careful way.

Young readers who have a fondness for stories about magic and magicians are sure to enjoy reading this first Magic Repair Shop book. It is hard not to feel compassion for Maggie when she tries first to hide her ability, and then when she tries to embrace it. It is also hard not to laugh at some of the situations she gets into.

The author leaves readers with the knowledge that Maggie has a lot of work to do in the coming months to learn how to be a responsible young magician. If she does not control her ability, it might be taken away from her.