Patricia Malachlan has given us another special story to touch our
hearts, make us laugh and slow us down. Her gifted storytelling immerses the
reader in the everyday life of a family who is hurting, yet has the courage
to face each day with determination and humor.
Papa has left home to pursue a writing career. Mama is naturally upset,
but decides to fill the emptiness in the house with four dogs and a cat.
The animals "talk" throughout the story, first to 4-year-old Elinor, then
to Grandma. When William, Elinor's older brother, questions this peculiar
situation, Grandma explains to William why he can't hear them: "You aren't
young enough. Not old enough. Maybe not brave enough."
Eventually William finds the courage Grandma spoke of, telling his
parents how he feels.
Even though Papa comes home and is eventually forgiven, it is through the
animals' points of view that the reader understands all the characters'
inner thoughts. The animals are the focal point to channel the healing that
What makes this story stand out from other stories with similar
storylines is the simplicity with which MacLachlan tells the tale.
Even with all the complexities of relationships (both animal and
human), children's fears and adults' dreams, the joy of family is
allowed to shine through the text. In short chapters, sentences and
phrases, the author has a reader laughing out loud or feeling tears.
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Amy June Bates' simple black-and-white illustrations give just
the right touch to help the younger reader picture the personalities
of the human and animal characters. One can almost feel the warmth
and love as the animals and children snuggle in bed together.
Even the title, "Waiting for the Magic," can spike a reader's
curiosity. What magic? Who is waiting? Why do we have to wait? As
the reader comes to the end of the story, the magic has so many
explanations and possibilities. Maybe, just maybe, the answer is the
If you like this book, try MacLachlan's "Edward's Eyes" as well.
You will find them both at the Lincoln Public Library Youth Services
Department, 725 Pekin St.
[Text from file received from Louella Moreland,
Lincoln Public Library District]
(Ms. Lou's blog: