Last night, I finished yet another of next year’s nominees for the South Carolina Children’s Book Award. If my last read made me want some pie, this one made me want a house full of dogs. The book is Waiting for the Magic by Patricia MacLachlan (author of the Newbery Award winning Sarah, Plain and Tall). This book is super-short, but it packed quite the emotional wallop. I laughed, I cried a bit, and I craved a bit of the magic the characters were looking for in this book. I think animal lovers will especially adore this book, but everyone will find something to love and relate to.
William, his sister Elinor, and his mom are facing a difficult situation. Dad has just walked out, and none of them knows when–or if–he will return. So how do they cope? Mom decides to take William and Elinor to the local animal shelter to adopt a pet. Most people would return home with a dog or cat, but this family is a little different. They adopt four dogs and one cat! All of the animals seem to get along, though, so it kind of works out.
This family still misses Dad, but the animals help to fill the void that their father left behind, especially when William discovers just how “magical” these animals are. (Elinor has always known about the “magic.” It took William a little longer to experience it.) If someone is young, old, brave, honest, or joyful, he/she can communicate with the animals. One just has to open his mind and heart. The “magic” will find its way in.
When Dad eventually returns (after an unexpected development), Elinor is eager to forgive and welcome him back home. William is not so willing to let go of his father’s abandonment. His furry friends guide him toward forgiveness, and with their assistance, the entire family–with a few extra special additions–grows closer together than ever before. Can the whole family experience the “magic” that comes with loving their special pets (and each other)? Read Patricia MacLachlan’s Waiting for the Magic to discover just how magical love, joy, bravery, and forgiveness can truly be.
Waiting for the Magic is a heart-warming, poignant book that, in my opinion, might make you look at the animals around you a little differently. I’ve been playing with the idea of getting a dog for a while now, and this book may have just pushed me a little farther toward the animal shelter! This book is a very easy, quick read, but the message is one that everyone–no matter the age–will find inspiring.