The Magic Telescope, edited by Barrie Carozzi

‘Look!” he said. ‘Look!’ and pointed. A huge boot magically appeared on the horizon. After a few seconds it was big enough to house the old woman who lived in the shoe as well as all her children, their cousins and a streetful of neighbours.

Barney and Simon are trying to entertain Simon’s pesky little sister Natalie when they make an amazing find. Buried in a chest at the beach they find an old telescope and are amazed to discover it has magical powers. Anything they look at through the telescope becomes bigger, shrinking only if they turn the telescope around. They have lots of fun making things bigger and smaller.

But when the local bullies, Spitwad and his gang, find out about the telescope, Simon, Barney and Natalie could be in for trouble. The bullies are desperate to get their hands on the magical telescope and they are not going to let anything – or anyone – stand in their way.

One of the interesting aspects of The Magic Telescope is that it is written by five different authors. Each of the authors – Katrina Williams, Erica Brodie, Sheila Burnell, Dianne McMillan and Dolores Anderson – has contributed two chapters of the story. It is a pity the process used to thus produce the story is not explained, as children will be curious (as this reviewer is) whether there was a combined planning process or whether each writer worked independently to take the story where she wished. In one place the change of author makes for a little awkwardness in the text – the characters, who have accepted the magic nature of the telescope almost without question, suddenly wonder whether they are dreaming – but overall the transitions are smooth.

The Magic Telescope is part of the new Breakers series from Macmillan Education, and is aimed at children with a reading age of around 10 years.

A fun read.

The Magic Telescope, edited by Barrie Carozzi
Macmillan Education, 2004