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The Marvelous Magic of Miss Mabel
ISBN: 9781481465342
Author: Lowe, Natasha
Publisher: Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman
Published: August 2017
Retail: $7.99    OUR PRICE: $1.99
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Binding Type: Paperback
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Annotation: Penderwicks meets Edward Eager in this moving story “that will remind readers of Roald Dahl’s Matilda” (School Library Journal) about a young witch found in a flowerpot who embarks on a journey to discover her roots.

The morning Nora Ratcliff finds a baby in the flowerpot on her front steps her life changes forever. She had always wanted a child, but after her husband passed away, Nora never thought it would be possible. She decides to name her miracle flowerpot child Mabel, and as Mabel grew up, she showed a distinct talent for magic.

When Mabel is accepted to the prestigious witch school, Ruthersfield Academy, she excels at the curriculum, especially magic, but is constantly in trouble for experimenting and inventing her own potions. One day she is asked to write a paper on the origin of her magical roots and discovers the truth about her birth after a mean classmate blurts out what everyone seems to know—except Mabel. Mabel is shocked but the revelation does explain a lot. In an act of rebellion, Mabel changes her name to Magnolia and sets out to learn why she was left in the flowerpot and who her birth family might be.

Will Mabel find the answers she’s looking for—or will she discover that families are people who love and look out for each other—and that’s most important of all.
Additional Information
BISAC Categories:
- Juvenile Fiction | Fantasy & Magic
- Juvenile Fiction | Family - General (see Also Headings Under Social Themes)
- Juvenile Fiction | Social Themes - Friendship
Dewey: FIC
Lexile Measure: 870
Series: Poppy Pendle
Target Grade: 4-6
Grade level: 4-6
Physical Information: 1.00" H x 100.00" L x 5.00" W
Bargain Category: Upper Elementary, Myths & Legends, Middle School, Fantasy
Grade level(s): 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th
 
Descriptions, Reviews, Etc.

Contributor Bio(s): Lowe, Natasha: - Natasha Lowe knew as a child that she wanted to be either a writer, an adventurer, or to open a fancy teashop. So she did a little bit of everything, traveling from her native London to America where she ran The Tea House bed and breakfast and wowed guests with her grandmother's shortbread recipe. She lives in Massachusetts with her husband and four children. She is the author of the Poppy Pendle series and Lucy Castor Finds Her Sparkle.
Reviewed by Horn Book Guide Reviews (Horn Book Guide Reviews 2017 Fall)
In this third book about student witches at Ruthersfield Academy (The Power of Poppy Pendle; The Courage of Cat Campbell), witch Mabel doesn't know she's adopted until a school bully reveals the truth. Lowe's latest maintains its fancifulness while realistically addressing serious topics, such as the nature of family and the importance of following your passion over fitting in. Copyright 2017 Horn Book Guide Reviews.
Reviewed by School Library Journal Reviews (SLJ Reviews 2016 August)

Gr 4–7—Mabel Ratcliff, the witchy great-great-grandmother of Cat (The Courage of Cat Campbell), stars in her own book about resourcefulness and feminism. It's 1881, and Nora Ratcliff, a widow, finds baby Mabel in a flowerpot by her door. Nora falls in love with Mabel, only later discovering that Mabel is a witch. Nora enrolls Mabel in Ruthersfield Academy, a magical school where her innovative spells challenge her teachers' unshakable adherence to rules and traditions. Mabel argues that girls should ride broomsticks astride for safety and brainstorms magical solutions to everyday problems like her housemaid's brittle hair. When the Society of Forward Thinking Witches sponsors a competition for a useful household spell, Mabel's clever idea and the machinations of her archenemy Winnifred make for a disastrous magical muddle that Mabel must unravel. Lowe taps into relevant themes for today's youth with her characterization of Mabel as an inventor and an agent of social change. Through Mabel's trials and errors, Lowe subtly impresses upon readers the ideas that trying and failing can lead to genius and that one should never abandon one's convictions because of others' opinions. Through the lens of the suffrage movement, Lowe also examines the so-called proper roles of women. The subplot involving the restrictive Nanny Grimshaw seems extraneous to the story, further delineating Mabel as a figure of pity and oppression. The historical setting may narrow the audience slightly, but Mabel's high jinks will appeal to readers of Roald Dahl's Matilda and Diana Wynne Jones's Howl's Moving Castle. VERDICT Mabel will inspire readers with her confident creativity; a solid secondary purchase, especially where Lowe's previous title is popular.—Caitlin Augusta, Stratford Library Association, CT

[Page 92]. (c) Copyright 2016 Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.