Sunday, April 20, 2008

Magic Elizabeth by Norma Kassirer

I found this book a few weeks ago in our daughter's bookcase. It came from an old box of books that had been mine when I was a kid. I had forgotten that it was there, & as I looked at it a flood of memories came to my mind. I think that this is the very first book I ever read.
Magic Elizabeth by Norma Kassirer

I had thought that James and the Giant Peach was the first book I read. I remember reading it in 3rd grade. I remember sitting at my desk in school & reading the part where the sharks are trying to take bites out of the peach as it floats in the ocean. They couldn't get a bite because of their long noses. (snouts? I can't think what you call that on a shark!) Anyway, I thought that was my first memory of reading a chapter book. But as I stared at the cover of Magic Elizabeth, the plot slowly came back to me...& I'm pretty sure I read this book first. At least it is my first mystery novel. :) I was probably around 8 years old when I read it. It was a Scholastic book that was published in 1966. My copy had to have the cover taped because it was torn. And the pages are so yellowed they are more of a tan color. And...the cover said it was 50 cents!
As I looked at the cover & brushed away the cobwebs in my brain...I told my daughter the plot.
I actually remembered! This little girl, Sally, has to stay with her great aunt for a while (I couldn't remember why). While staying there, she sees a large painting of a girl that is about her same age. The painting is from the late 1800's, & the girl looks very much like Sally, and she is holding a doll. Amazingly, I remembered the 'who done it', AND...I remembered who the girl in the picture really was. :) There is also a mystery about the doll, that Sally solves.
So I took time off from reading The Lord of the Rings to read this book again.
I really got a kick out of it. It was a good mystry novel for young girls. It was sweeet too.
As an adult, I could see the foreshadowing from a mile away, LOL, but still, it's a great "first mystery". As for one of the mystries, there is a twist in the end that I thought was really neat when I was a girl. As an adult, I did remember who the girl in the painting was. But all through the book it makes you think it's someone else.

After searching Amazon, I found that this book has been re-released. It has a new cover too.
And, it's a little pricey, I'm not sure why. Here's a link to the new edition. I hope they didn't change any of the book, they may have had to change dates though.
Anyway, I enjoyed visiting my childhood reading a few weeks ago, & just thought I'd share.
Here's the first page & the first illustration which were done by Joe Krush. (I even remembered ALL of the

1 comment:

Dawn said...

I just put a hold on this at my library. You have peaked my interest.

When I was in 5th and 6th grade there was a book I read over and over from our school library. We have moved all over the country and for years I have looked in every library and bookstore for a copy of it. After we moved here to Syracuse I was in this very tiny public library and finally found it on the shelves. I was so excited that I told the librarian checking me out the whole story. Can you believe she took the book out of the system and GAVE it to me to keep. I love seeing it on my shelf. After I read yours I am going to re-read mine. Call Me Heller, That's My Name by Stella Pevsner.