RETURN TO FINKLETON
Kirkus Book Review – May 3, 2012
A father leads his family hiking one evening to see an unforgettable sight: thousands of glowworms lighting up Finkleton Valley.
In The Magic of Finkleton, the first book in this series, Jack, Lizzy and Robert realize their family acquired not just a shop, but a shop with magical secrets, including the ability to control weather. After mastering the weather and reaping two years of perfect crops, two of the children find a room hidden beneath the library floor. Initially, it seems to be just a room with more books, but closer inspection reveals some peculiarities, such as a book that glows, and one that feels cold to the touch. A rather ordinary book about memories seems harmless, but odd things start happening after Robert takes it with him upstairs to browse: A lightning strike causes a fire that burns the house of one of Finkleton’s leading citizens, and one of the children carelessly reveals the magical secrets found in Uncle Harry’s shop, encouraging a greedy outsider to pursue owning land in Finkleton. Robert believes he can right some of his past mistakes, but he accidentally breaks a clock which has the ability to move a person forward and backward through time. Meanwhile, the children work tirelessly to fix their town.
In Hilton’s lively book, she creates a thriving town as the setting, using images children can easily imagine and appreciate. Miss Caroline, a resident devoted to helping the children, needs more detail and history, considering her central role. The story sharply focuses on the three children and their actions, which young readers will appreciate. At first glance, some of the magical items in this book may remind readers of Harry Potter—a clock that controls time and a book that can answer direct questions—but their use here is unique. The plot ambles along and presents situations that, beneath their supernatural surfaces, readers will likely find familiar.
Suitable for children 9–11 years old, this continuation of a magical adventure is a pleasure to read.