Wacky Weekend: Ibby's Magic Weekend by Heather Dyer
Ibby's is a bit intimidated by the idea of spending the weekend with her ditzy Aunt Carol and her two adventurous sons, Alex and Francis. Her fears are not allayed when she arrives and find that Francis has been "miniaturized" with the help of a mysterious magic set he found in a dark corner of the attic.
The two-inch Francis is finally found and stashed for safekeeping in an empty cookie jar, but now Alex and Ibby have a problem. Do they tell Aunt Carol what has happened, or do they try to undo the magic with the intriguing wand and Book of Instructions they find inside the kit?
Ibby sensibly suggests that they first try the help line phone number from the back of the Book of Instructions, but the line goes suddenly dead, and against Alex's orders, Ibby decides it's time to show the tiny Francis-in-a-jar to her aunt, when--crash!--the jar slips and in the fall Francis returns to his normal size just in time show up nonchalantly for dinner.
The next day twelve-year-old Alex decides it's his job to take charge of the magic wand, and he wastes no time showing off with the levitation trick. It works so well that Alex is able to float out the window and across the countryside until he fortunately is able to snag the weathervane of a church spire. When the rescuing policeman returns Alex home, Aunt Carol sends him to his room to think about climbing in dangerous places, leaving Francis again in full possession of the magic tricks kit, with his eye on the Disappearing Coin trick.
Despite Ibby's protests that the tricks are becoming more dangerous, the two boys forge on. Francis uses the Disappearing Coin to make himself invisible, and Alex undertakes the scary Life Cycle trick to make himself into a grownup. Ibby is torn between covering for her intrepid cousins or stopping these progressively hazardous transformations by tattling to her aunt.
Just as Alex is recovering from a frightening stint as a diapered baby and the three kids are about to swear off magic, Ibby becomes fascinated by Aunt Carol's story of their vanished Uncle Godfrey, a practicing magician who stepped into his truck and failed to return from his vanishing act five years before. Exploring the corner of the attic where the magic kit was found, they find an empty trunk with an open padlock dangling from the hasp. The keyhole fits the gold key they find in the magic kit, and at once all three children have the same thought.
"Who's going to do the trick?" said Alex.
"I will," said Ibby.
Alex looked at Ibby in surprise. "Are you sure?"
"Of course, I'm sure."
Francis was careful to put the want into her hand the right way around. It made her fingertips tingle, as though there was a faint electric current running through it.
Heather Dyer's Ibby's Magic Weekend has a pleasant English fantasy tone which makes the magical adventures of the three spirited would-be magicians an easy read for elementary fantasy fans. With Ibby's success in making the missing magician reappear, a sequel with more magical adventures with Uncle Godfrey looks promising.