Upside-Down Magic Review
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Unabridged Digital Audiobook: 3 hours, 8 minutes
Read by Rebecca Soler

Every kid feels like a misfit from time to time. Grown-ups do, too. But in the audio edition of Upside-Down Magic by authors Sarah Mlynowski, Lauren Myracle, and Emily Jenkins, a class full of young misfits learns that being different isn’t always a bad thing.

The story finds nine-year-old Nory Horace struggling with her unnatural magical abilities. Though she’s able to transform into different animals, her magic is, well, wonky. It’s so wonky, in fact, that she isn’t able to attend the prestigious magic school where her father is the headmaster. Instead, she’s forced to move in with her aunt and attend a public school that’s introducing a new Upside-Down Magic program for special kids like Nory. But Nory doesn’t want to stay in the special class—so she decides to find a way to fix her magic once and for all.

Upside-Down Magic is a silly story with a great message. Young readers will love the band of misfit characters and their mixed-up magic—from Bax, who sometimes turns into a rock, to Andres, who’s always floating high above everyone’s heads. But Nory’s magic is the craziest magic of all—because when she tries to transform into an animal, she often turns into a mix of animals instead, like a beaver-kitten or a skunk-elephant. Her hybrid animals tend to wreak havoc on her home, her school, and sometimes even her friends—and their outrageous antics are sure to grab kids’ attention and keep them giggling.

In the beginning, however, Nory’s story is surprisingly heartbreaking—because her heartless father is so unwilling to accept her differences that he sends her away to live with her crazy aunt and go to a special school. Nory is understandably devastated, and she spends much of the book trying to fix her magic, so she can return home to her family. Eventually, though, she begins to understand that she doesn’t need to be ashamed of her different abilities—because her “strange” magic allows her to do things that no one else can do. And while Nory’s family does, admittedly, start the story off on a low note, her lovable classmates and their various quirks help to make up for her family’s faults.

Of course, the message here is really nothing new. But rarely do you find a kids’ book about being yourself and appreciating people’s differences that also features bittens and skunkephants. And that’s what makes this book unique—and lots of fun, too.

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