________________ CM . . . . Volume XXIII Number 30. . . .April 14, 2017


Showing Off. (Upside Down Magic #3).

Sarah Mlynowski, Lauren Myracle & Emily Jenkins.
New York, NY: Scholastic (Distributed in Canada by Scholastic Canada), 2017.
198 pp., hardcover, $19.99.
ISBN 978-0-545-80053-2.

Grades 2-5 / Ages 7-10.

Review by Janet Beauchamp.

**** /4



Zinnia, an excellent flare for her age, stood before the school piano, hands outstretched and fingertips sparking.

Was she --?

She was!

She was trying to burn up the piano!

Stop! Pepper wailed. Zinnia, no!

Zinnia jumped. She saw Pepper, and it seemed as though a jolt pulsed through her and made her magic even stronger. The piano burst into flames. Wood crackled. Wires popped. Black and white keys into the air like a scattered deck of cards. It burned bright and was over in seconds. The piano was gone. Nothing remained but a smoking spot on the floor and a few sad keys. Everything in Pepper’s stomach turned sour. What a good little actress Zinnia was!


This installment of the “Upside Down Magic” series centers around a Talent Show at Dunwiddle Magic School. The main character, a young lady named Nory, and her group of friends who are in the new upside down magic (UDM) class at school, choose to find a talent to showcase during the show. The kids in the UDM class are a little different than everyone else as their magic doesn’t quite work like it should.

     The magical talents of the students at the magic school include Fluxers, like Nory, who can turn their human selves into animals, Flickers who can become invisible, Flyers who, as their name suggests, fly, Flares who make fire, and Fuzzies who can communicate with animals.

     Nory and her friends want to join the Talent Show, but they are concerned that their magic, which doesn’t work as it should, will malfunction and make them the laughing stock of Dunwiddle Magic School. They are worried that, when things go wrong, the Sparkies (who are the mean Flares) will call them WONKOS even though it is forbidden for them to bully students in the UDM class.

     Readers will be excited to see if Nory and her group will have the confidence to try their luck at making their magic work at the Talent Show. The group decide to join as a band of musicians, and, as expected, things do not go as planned, but Zinnia unexpectedly saves the day. In addition to the typical magical escapades, there is some character development in this addition to the series as Zinnia crosses over from the dark side. Lacey and Rune are not happy when Zinnia helps the UDM class so they can win a special award at the Talent Show. Readers of the “Upside Down Magic” series will also be excited to read about Bax who makes progress as a fluxer who, previously, always turned into a rock.

Highly Recommended.

Janet Beauchamp, a high school teacher and teacher-librarian, is the mother of three girls and lives in L’Amable, ON.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.
Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
Hosted by the University of Manitoba.

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