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StorySnoops Children's Book Reviews | Yuri's Brush with Magic | Maureen Crane Wartski
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Yuri's Brush with Magic
by Maureen Crane Wartski
PUBL. RECOMMENDED AGE: 9-13
PUBLISHER: Sleepy Hollow Books
YEAR PUBLISHED: 2010
NO. PAGES: 192
GENRE{S}: Realistic Fiction
MAIN CHARACTER GENDER: Female
ISBN: 0982454252
READ & REVIEWED BY: Eden - StorySnoop


The Story
Yuri's Brush with Magic—Book Review

Tammy and Ken's mother is in the hospital and has an uncertain future. "Mean" Aunt Yuri, who they have never met, arrives from Japan to take care of the children while their father attends to their mother. She takes them to a beach house for the summer, but the kids don't support the plan and try to make her life as difficult as they can so she will take them home. But Yuri has some tricks up her sleeve, and in addition to teaching them a thing or two, she has a magical talent that Tammy in particular wants to figure out. In the meantime, there is a nest of sea turtle eggs on the beach in front of their house that provides the kids with an intriguing distraction while they try not to dwell on their mother's fate. It might just turn out to be a great summer after all.
The Scoop
Yuri's Brush with Magic—Book Review
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Yuri's Brush with Magic is a lovely and multi-dimensional story about family, hope, love, and a little bit of magic. In an age-appropriate way, it tackles many issues that a young person might encounter, including a serious illness/injury, an estranged family member, and bullying behavior. It also celebrates family relationships, conservation, Japanese folklore, and the arts (one character is a writer, one is an artist, and one wants to be a photojournalist). Ken and Tammy's mother has been left in a coma after a car accident that happened prior to the story. Her storyline ends on a hopeful, but not neatly-wrapped up note, which is reflective of real life. Along the same line, the turtle's nest is raided by local crabs, and not all of the eggs hatch. There are several nice little nuggets of wisdom delivered by adults: "There are two sides to every story," "Pick your battles," "I've said things in anger that I don't feel good about now," etc. There is a bully character who is the summer charge of an equally small-minded adult. This adult makes one brief ethnic slur ("I've always said you people can't be trusted"), but it is not the focus of the conversation, and it will likely go over the heads of most young readers. This book would be a good choice for an elementary school book report, or a children's book club.
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