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.