top of page

Imagine if the strength of magic was determined by the tides. At high tide, people's magical 'blessings' are at their strongest. Imagine a girl whose 'blessing' is to change her face into anyone she knows. This is the premise for Clare Harlow's excellent debut, wonderfully illustrated by Karl James Mountford. 'Tidemagic: The Magic Faces of Ista Flit' is beautifully written, intricate in magical detail and completely engrossing. Shelwich is a richly imagined setting: strange and twisted and full of surprises. This magical-mystery is perfect for fans of the Eerie-on-Sea series and the whimsical stories of Abi Elphinstone. 

Ista has come to Shelwich in search of her missing father, and she'll do anything to find him - even work for Shelwich's most notorious thief. Then she meets Nat and Ruby, both struggling with their own search: Nat for his little brother, Ravi, and Ruby for her sister Saf. As more strange disappearances send shockwaves through the town, they must form a tentative friendship and draw on all the Tidemagic they can to unravel a mystery that leads to an old, abandoned theatre, and to the ancient caves beneath Shelwich...

Puffin Books have published, so far, two standout magical titles this year. As with 'The Whisperwicks' by Jordan Lees, 'Tidemagic' is bursting with imaginative detail: a world that is vivid and intricate and exciting to escape into. Clare Harlow's writing is rich and a joy to read. and Karl James Mountford's illustrations bring it to life with detail and inventiveness. Ista Flit, Nat and Ruby are also brilliant characters to go on an adventure with, and there's the promise of further intriguing adventures to come. Children in Year 5 and 6 will love this, and I imagine it being brought to life well in class Storytimes. 

Thank you to Puffin books for sending my proof copy. I will have to buy the completed version with all the illustrations to share with my class.

bottom of page