When asked to write about a book I read when younger, I instantly thought of Paul Gallico. ‘The Snow Goose’ was a great book, and he wrote many others (including The Poseidon Adventure!!), however, ‘The Man Who Was Magic’ stands out in my memory so much so that I’ve just ordered it for my 10 year old.
The book starts with its main character, Adam, arriving in Magea for the annual Magic Competition, however, all the other magicians in Magea are illusionists or tricksters. Adam performs real magic, and the tale describes the reactions he receives from many people in the city, some good, some not so good. Other main characters include Mopsy, his talking dog (that only he can hear) and Jane, a magician’s daughter who is destined to become a magician’s assistant.
For some people the book is seen as an allegory, or an extended metaphor. Adam is almost a pure symbol (not unlike Christ) who is set upon by people pretending to be magic because his pure powers threaten their own dishonest tricks.
To be honest, it’s not a children’s book, but for a young teenager it’s probably spot on. I think ten year olds are much older these days than I was at 10, hence me feeling it’s very suitable for my 10 year old. He’s read all of the Potter books and Northern Lights etc. so I think this is perfect, if not unique in these times.
I’d go as far to say that I would even recommend it as the perfect story to re-learn the joy of reading to your children even at an older age!!