written by Lynne Jonnell, illustrated by Brandon Dorman
Random House Books for Young Readers, 2012
To be released on February 28, 2012.
Reviewed from copy provided by publisher through NetGalley.
BLURB: With a POP! and a puff of smoke, the Willows' lawn mower calls it quits. A new mower will cost their parents a lot of money, money Derek had hoped to borrow for a train ticket to visit a friend. Luckily Derek and his brother and sisters find a rusty push mower tucked away in the shed. It doesn't look like much, but it turns out that it's been soaking up magic for years. And it's hungry for grass!Not having read Hamster Magic, I didn't understand the references to Derek's family's previous experience with messed up magic. However, I still managed to follow most of the story. The story does focus on one day's events with the children running into a magically empowered lawn mower. I found the idea amusing and the book did not disappoint in that area. The scenes with the lawn mower running amok were funny and entertaining.
Can Derek earn his ticket? Maybe . . . if he, Abner, Tate, and Celia can keep the magic mower under control!
There is little character development as the book focuses on the events of a single day. The magic is also not really explained. Derek and his siblings are, however, appealing and their interactions realistic. The plot moves along at a brisk pace that is perfect for children making the switch to chapter books. The illustrations are delightful (I love Brandon Dorman's work!) and add a nice note to the book (I do so like illustrations in middle grade chapter books). I recommend this for children who want a light, fun, fast read, who aren't ready for 300 page tomes.