The Maloney’s Magical Weatherbox by Nigel Quinlan is a fun middle grade adventure featuring weather magic and, you guessed it, a magical weatherbox ;-). The magic of The Maloney’s Magical Weatherbox was unique, especially for a middle grade, however the writing lacked the humor or whimsy that I need to really enjoy a middle grade story. If you know a kid obsessed with weather though, this is the perfect book!
Note: I received an advanced copy of The Maloney’s Magical Weatherbox from the publisher. Some things may have changed in the final version.
The Maloney's Magical Weatherbox by Nigel Quinlan
Published by Roaring Brook Press on July 28th, 2015
Genres: Fantasy, MG
Page Length: 320 pages
How I got my copy: Publisher
Amazon - Book Depository - Goodreads
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Neil and Liz measure their lives by the regularity of the seasons, until one year when autumn doesn’t arrive and all weather breaks loose.
Neil and Liz Maloney have a secret: Their father is the keeper of the Weatherbox, a magical phone booth that rings four times a year, signaling the changing of the seasons. But this summer when the family gathers to send off the season, the phone doesn’t ring and autumn does not arrive. Instead a mysterious tourist of magic shows up at their doorstep, along with two nonsensical hags and one cat-shaped bog beast. The only one not taken by surprise is their neighbor Mrs. Fitzgerald, who seems to be able to make the elements of weather itself do her bidding.
Now it’s up to Neil and Liz to discover the source of Mrs. Fitzgerald’s power and restore order to the climate.
- The magic in The Maloney’s Magical Weatherbox is of course weather based, but also pretty unique. I enjoyed learning the origin story of how the seasons came into being and how a Weatherman makes sure the seasons change four times a year.
- Unlike a lot of children’s stories, the parents are very much present and involved in The Maloney’s Magical Weatherbox and the whole adventure is a family affair. It was great seeing siblings work together along with mom and dad.
- The Weatherman can apparently only be a boy, however our heroine Liz thinks this is stupid ;-). I liked seeing Liz challenge the gender biases that the adults take as fact even though it takes a while.
- Liz and Neil’s youngest brother is downright adorable and he has an adorable pet cat that isn’t really a cat. I have such a soft spot for cute kids and their pets!
- The plot of The Maloney’s Magical Weatherbox is pretty intense and held my interest. There are a number of different groups vying for different outcomes and I was impressed with the maturity of the plot lines while still remaining accessible to younger readers.
- I’ve come to expect humor of some kind in middle grade and was sad to see that The Maloney’s Magical Weatherbox didn’t attempt anything close. I need my chuckles!
- A lot of the information about the weather magic and history of the weatherbox are explained in info dumps. Pretty much the entire first chapter is one long explanation of how things got to this point.
- I kept running across phrasing that made me stop and read again because it was too awkward for me to make out the first time. Hopefully this gets fixed, but we’ll see!
- Even beyond the info dumps, The Maloney’s Magical Weatherbox does a whole lot of telling all the way up to the end instead of letting the reader experience the adventure along side the kids.
The Maloney’s Magical Weatherbox is a light and interesting middle grade featuring weather magic. If you are a weather geek, you’ll probably really enjoy the weather details thrown in. However, if you aren’t super psyched about weather magic, this might not be the middle grade for you.
Have you read this one? What did you think? Are you excited for it if you haven’t gotten to it yet?
The Maloney’s Magical Weatherbox by Nigel Quinlan
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