Book Cover
Title Black & Blue Magic
Series ---
Author Zilpha Keatley Snyder
Cover Art Dave Henderson
Illustrated Gene Holtan
Publisher Dell Publishing - 1988
First Printing 1966
Category Children
Warnings None

Main Characters

Harry Marco

Main Elements Wizards

A long boring summer in the city stretches ahead for almost-twelve-year-old Harry Houdini Marco. Running a boarding house with his widowed mother is a never-ending job, and all Harry's friends have moved to the suburbs.

But one day he does a favor for a clumsy little man on the bus and receives a gift that staggers his imagination - soft-feathered, cloudy-white, magical wings! A pair of wings on the shoulders of an impossibly clumsy boy spells bumps, bruises and scrapes. Can Harry keep his "black and blue magic" a secret and still manage to find his mother a new husband?

A friend was giving this book away and I'm a sucker for pictures of big angel-like wings so I asked to have it. Figured it was short so if it was bad I'd just pass it along.

But I was surprised to find it wasn't bad at all, in fact it was really good! Snyder's descriptions of Harry's wings were so realistic, including describing the fact that they could feel his hands when he touched them. She also did a really good job of describing the difficulties of flying, while the wings themselves were magical, other than being able to lift a body too heavy for flight, everything sounded completely plausible. I was completely drawn into the story and couldn't help rooting for Harry, soaring with him, and then the dismay of discovering that the magic wasn't going to last forever!

My one qualm was that Harry was a little too grown up for not even being 12 yet, a bit too mature, but then he'd had a difficult life and had to grow up a little sooner than most.

I think I might actually let my inner child win and keep this book, even though I'm quite a bit out of the intended age range! It's not often that an adult can enjoy a book like this withouth having read it once before as a child and have a nostalgic attachment to it.

Posted: December 2014


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