The dollhouse and rocking horse of old Miss Ashemeade (rumored to be a
witch) are by no means the usual playthings of little girls. That's the point behind Andre Norton's new book, "Octagon Magic." From these "toys,"
eleven-year-old Lorrie Mallard is mentally transported to a forgotten time in the home's history. The mini-adventures Lorrie experiences serve moral lessons applicable to the real world of the new student in town. Using magic as a method of teaching never quite occurred to me and seeing it thus applied, through daydreaming episodes, makes this storyline unique for young and adult readers alike. From an adult perspective I found it hard to stop reading. The story opened in action with teasing by Stan Wormiski (name indicative of his behavior), and continued so throughout its ten chapters.
Lorrie's Canadian background is a bit vague, especially as regards the brief mention of her parents, but otherwise handled well. The book, after all, concerns her future, not her past. Magic is meant to be mysterious, and its
secrets help Lorrie to eventually accept her new environment.
Reviewed for Flamingnet by Sarah Jones