This imaginative young adult fantasy, set in Australia, tackles the subjects of loneliness, bullying, and ecology through the magical adventures of a nine-year-old girl.
Shoshi O’Malley doesn’t intend to irritate people, but her high-pitched, ear-shattering screams alienate her from others. Her older sister, Kelly, torments Shoshi for pleasure, taking delight in each shriek that erupts from her mouth. Constantly bullied, Shoshi lives a lonely and unhappy life as the youngest in a family of eight. Her marine biologist father is preoccupied with a rare octopus and her mother works in seclusion writing a new children’s book.
Shoshi’s only friends are their witchy housekeeper and a dusty old burlap sack that she soon learns is a mind-reading magic carpet cursed to live as a sack until a princess cries tears of joy on his threads. Other enchanted creatures reside in and near the family’s home but keep a low profile, except on full-moon nights. Many of them work their magic to help Shoshi follow her true destiny.
Light humor appears throughout the book through eccentric characters who talk in amusing ways (using a variety of accents and means of expression)—and even through the title. Shoshi is supposed to summon the magic carpet by saying “Saladdin Sack, come back, come back,” but instead repeatedly calls him a “magic sack,” which doesn’t have the same results. The author’s use of language is colorful and expressive, and shifts in perspectives are expertly handled.
The first 17 chapters contain minor editing errors, such as missing or wrong words (“he battered his eyelashes at Shoshi”), but the remaining chapters and epilogue are nearly error-free.
Although the story strays a little in the final chapters where Shoshi learns of her upcoming involvement in the ecosystem, the author has delivered an ambitious and entertaining tale about Shoshi’s personal transformative experiences . The first in an intended series, Magic Sack Come Back Come Back is engaging and fun to read.
Also available in hardcover and ebook.