HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW
Book: Secrets of the Magic Ring
Author: Karen McQuestion
Illustrator: Vincent Desjardins
Publisher: Amazon Encore, 2011
Language level: 2
(1=nothing objectionable; 2=common euphemisms and/or childish slang terms; 3=some cursing or profanity; 4=a lot of cursing or profanity; 5=obscenity and/or vulgarity)
Reading level: Ages 6-11
Rating: 4 stars (GOOD)
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker
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McQuestion, Karen. Secrets of the Magic Ring (published in 2011 by Amazon Encore, P. O. Box 400818, Las Vegas, NV 89140). Paul lives with his dad Ken, mom Leah, and dog Clem, on a country road near a woods. His best friends are Alex from school and Celia, a year older, who is his closest neighbor. On his ninth birthday, Paul’s wealthy Aunt Vicky, who hates being in water due to a childhood accident, pays for a swimming pool as a gift. After the men come and dig the hole for the pool in the backyard, Paul sees a box sticking out of the side in the ground and decides to dig it out. A strange boy named Henry comes from the woods and demands that Paul give him the box, but Clem runs up and chases Henry away. Later, in the box Paul finds a beautiful gold ring with a blue stone along with an old piece of paper that has directions for making wishes.
Paul tries to make a wish, but it doesn’t seem to work. Then the ring ends up in the hands of Aunt Vicky, and her greatest wish, to be able to swim, quickly comes true. When she loses the ring in the pool, Clem retrieves it and starts to talk to Paul as a result of the dog’s wish. It turns out that many years before Henry had used the ring to wish that he would never grow up and now hopes to use it to undo his previous wish. Later, Paul himself is able to fly because of a wish he makes when a bully named Brody tries to take the ring, but the wishes always seem to backfire in some way or another. When Paul and Celia try to help Henry, Celia ends up becoming invisible. Will Celia’s Grammy, who knew Henry when they were children, be able to help? And what will the fairies who live in the woods and help the humans do?
This variation on the old adage “Be careful what you wish for” is actually a sequel to Celia and the Fairies, which I have not read but how Celia’s Grammy, who is also named Celia, comes to live with Paul’s friend and her family and tells her about the fairies in the woods. Secrets of the Magic Ring is written in a very engaging way that makes it easy to read. Parents may want to know that Paul does have a tendency to disobey, being somewhat manipulative and deceptive in getting his way as he occasionally lies. However, this might be explained by the facts that his mother is rather overprotective and he is being bullied at school. It is also said that he feels guilty about it, and one might assume that he learns better as a result of his experiences. The worst language is some euphemisms and childish slang, such as heck, darned, and butt. Aside from this, it is an imaginative modern fairy tale with some interesting lessons that most children will likely enjoy.