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This Side of Magic: Keyholders    by Debbie Dadey & Marcia Thornton Jones order for
This Side of Magic
by Debbie Dadey
Order:  USA  Can
Starscape, 2009 (2009)
* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Debbie Dadey and Marcia Thornton Jones, creators of the bestselling Bailey School Kids now bring young readers (aged 7-10) their new Keyholders series, beginning with This Side of Magic.

Best friends Luke and Penny live on the last street of Morgantown, beside mysterious dark woods where no-one goes - it's not discussed but everyone just knows it's forbidden. They're often pestered by Natalie, 'the nosiest girl in their class', who watches everything and records what she sees in a bright pink notebook.

When Luke's next-door neighbor, Mr. Leery, has to go away for a few days, he asks the duo to look after his talking cat Mo ('one of the ugliest cats they'd ever seen') and 'look out for leaks'. He gives each of them a silver bracelet with a key charm, emphasizing that these will provide protection.

While Mr. Leery's away an odd, knobby-kneed, buck-teethed, big-eared boy (initially wearing a pink tutu) appears, shows up everywhere, and causes trouble.

When Mr. Leery returns, he explains what's going on beyond the bushes and enlists three new Keyholders, each of whom is assigned a link to the magical world - a small dragon, a unicorn with attitude and a rat in a hurry.

While this first episode is mostly exposition - along with often funny banter - it sets the scene nicely for the second adventure in this magical chapter book series, The Other Side of Magic.

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