Upside-Down Magic #5: Weather or Not – Sarah Mlynowski, Lauren Myracle & Emily Jenkins

The students at Dunwiddle Magic School are preparing for Bing Day, their town’s most important annual magical holiday. Nory and Willa have been partnered up by Ms. Starr to work on a Bing Day project but the girls can’t see eye to eye. Nory thinks Willa is a crybaby, Willa thinks Nory is bossy and Elliott, who’s friends with both girls, is stuck in the middle.

I loved that Willa’s anxiety is addressed in this book. We need more kid’s books that include mental health in the narrative and this book introduced what anxiety feels like in an age appropriate way.

I was absolutely delighted to learn about Bing Day, more so because the person whose birthday is celebrated each year was a woman and her life partner was also a woman! Between them they helped save so many lives with their magic.

Carrot, Ms. Starr’s rabbit, is back in this book and now she’s spending more time in the Upside-Down Magic classroom. I love her sweet nature and wisdom. She also showed her cheeky side in this book.

The food I most wanted to eat while reading were white chocolate polar bears with marshmallow filling.

I now have to wait until September to read the next book in the series! NOOOOOO!

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Once Upon a Blurb

When Willa’s upside-down magic rains, it pours. Clouds form under ceilings. Classrooms get flooded. Nory and the kids in Ms. Starr’s Upside-Down Magic class always have umbrellas nearby, just in case. 

Willa hates being the source of such sogginess. And yet the more she rains, the worse she feels … and the worse she feels, the more she rains. 

Nory, meanwhile, can’t wait to celebrate her first Bing Day – her town’s magical holiday. There’s even a parade! Too bad she’s stuck doing her Bing Day class project with drippy Willa. To make things worse, Elliott seems to be taking Willa’s side on everything. 

All the storminess is threatening to flood the UDM friendships. Will they drown in misery? Or can they use their magic to make the storm clouds disappear?

Upside-Down Magic #4: Dragon Overnight – Sarah Mlynowski, Lauren Myracle & Emily Jenkins

Dragons!!!

Nory and her Upside-Down Magic class are going on a three day class trip to Dragon Haven, where injured dragons are taken care of. Unfortunately Pepper can’t attend because her fiercing magic would scare all of the dragons but the rest of Nory’s class are ready for this adventure, including their teacher, Ms. Starr, and the school nurse, Nurse Riley (whose first name we find out in this book – Felix!).

I enjoyed getting to know Andres better in this book. In the first three books of the series he’s primarily only been the boy on a leash who floats at the top of the UDM classroom because his upside down flying magic doesn’t allow him to do anything but stay airborne. It was lovely to see him interacting with other flyers and given the opportunity to let loose for a while and learn more about his ability.

Ms. Starr is still my favourite character. I wish I had been able to see her magic in action with the dragons. She’s such a sweetheart; so lovely and supportive and I want a teacher just like her.

“You’re letting yourself shine,” she told him, “and it makes me happy.”

Although she does make some mistakes in this book she quickly owns up to them and apologises.

I loved getting a glimpse of the different types of dragons being cared for at Dragon Haven and it was fun seeing Nory identify what type of dragon she becomes when she’s a dritten (part dragon, part kitten). I hope Nory returns to Dragon Haven in a future book to visit Roarie. I definitely didn’t like it when Nory took the baby dragon when it hatched after she’d been specifically told that it would imprint on the first face it saw and how bad that would be if it didn’t imprint on another dragon.

The fact that she didn’t have any consequences for doing this and making all of the staff worry about this missing baby dragon overnight really disappointed me. While it was nice for the story that when she gave up the baby dragon for another dragon to care for the fact that the baby essentially didn’t even give her a second glance as it left negated the whole concept of imprinting for me.

Of all of the wonderful dragons described in this book my favourites were the luminous dragonettes. I need an entire rainbow of luminous dragonettes! They’re the smallest species of dragon and they light up like fireflies!

While there was bacon in this book the food I craved the most while reading was Nory’s waffle sandwich with hot fudge, whipped cream and hot caramel sauce. 🤤

I love that while each of the books in this series focuses on Nory as the main character there’s also a spotlight put on at least one of her UDM classmates. I’m really looking forward to learning more about Willa, who has the ability to make it rain indoors, in the next book.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Once Upon a Blurb

Nory Horace can turn herself into a kitten. But sometimes she adds in a bit of dragon and, well, accidentally turns into a dritten. Oops? Her friend Andres Padillo can fly high … but then he can’t fly back down again.

Nory and Andres are in an Upside-Down Magic class with other kids who have unusual magic. Now they’re off on their first-ever overnight field trip! At Dragon Haven, Nory, Andres, and their UDM classmates get to swim with dragons, fly with dragons, and feed dragons. There’s even a Hatchery, where they might get to see a newborn dragon.

There’s only one downer. The UDM kids aren’t the only ones visiting Dragon Haven. There are other students there, too. Students from another school. Students with “normal” magic. Dragon rescue, bonfires, and pajama breakfasts won’t be nearly as fun with a bunch of snooty strangers.

Unless … maybe everything isn’t as bad as it first seems. Thrown together with kids who are probably enemies, but might be friends, the UDM kids dive into their topsy-turviest adventure yet.

Upside-Down Magic #3: Showing Off – Sarah Mlynowski, Lauren Myracle & Emily Jenkins

Spoilers Ahead!

It’s now six weeks into the school year at Dunwiddle and almost time for the school’s annual talent show, the Show Off, where each class prepares an act to show off their talents.

Nory desperately wants her Upside-Down Magic class to win, even more so because her brother, sister and father are going to be attending the show. This will be the first time she’s seen them since her father sent her to live with her Aunt Margo. I absolutely detest Nory’s father because of his inability to be proud of her.

In this book we also get to know Pepper better. Her fiercing magic scares animals and she feels like it’s a curse. She’s afraid of scaring all of the animals in the show. Through Pepper we are introduced to my favourite character in this book, Carrot the rabbit, who has a personality a lot bigger than she is.

This series is simply adorable. I can’t help cheering on an underdog and Nory’s class is chock full of them. I love watching them learn to use their unusual magic and celebrate their differences. Their teacher, Ms. Starr, is my favourite character in the series so far and she really shines in this book during her one on one tutoring sessions with Pepper.

After two books of wondering, I finally learned what Ms. Starr’s Upside-Down Magic is in this book and it’s such a great magic to have. She’s an Upside-Down Fuzzy who enables animals to speak.

I would have adored this series as a kid and I can’t wait to read the next one.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Once Upon a Blurb

Some people in school are afraid of the kids in the Upside-Down Magic class. Others just call them Flops. But Nory and her friends in Upside-Down Magic won’t let that stop them. Not with a school-wide talent show coming up! 

Except… Nory’s afraid her fluxing magic will go wonky and upset her father. Pepper is worried that her abilities as a Fierce will make all the animals in the show run wild. Bax has some extreme new magic skills, but they can also be extremely embarrassing. And Elliott suspects there’s a Sparkie spy who’s looking to uncover UDM’s talent-show secrets, and to use those secrets against them. 

In order to take the stage and make some magic, the Upside-Down Magic kids are going to have to band together… and find the right combination of talents to steal the show!

Upside-Down Magic #2: Sticks & Stones – Sarah Mlynowski, Lauren Myracle & Emily Jenkins

Nory has now been living with her Aunt Margo and attending Dunwiddle Magic School for a month. She’s one of eight students in the Upside-Down Magic class, a class for kids whose magic is unusual.

When the pennies the school was collecting for charity turn into rocks and Marigold accidentally shrinks Lacey, one of the bully Sparkies, the Upside-Down Magic class are in the spotlight. It’s easy for the other kids to place blame on the kids who are different and pretty soon Lacey has started a petition to remove the Upside-Down Magic class and its members from Dunwiddle Magic School.

While the rumour mill is working overtime at Dunwiddle Nory is hoping to join the school’s beginner kittenball club, Elliott is keeping a secret from Nory and Bax is trying to learn how to keep his human mind when he turns into a rock.

I liked that this book alternated between Nory and Bax’s perspectives, and enjoyed learning about Bax’s family, including his father who is an Upside-Down Fuzzy, with animals reflecting his emotions.

I definitely want to see more of Squippy-Nory, when she fluxes into a puppy with tentacles. This was a reread for me but I haven’t read any more of the series so I’m looking forward to seeing what Ms. Starr’s class gets up to next.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Once Upon a Blurb

The kids in Upside-Down Magic know their magic is a little out of control. But that doesn’t make them weird – it only makes them human.

Strange things are happening at Dunwiddle Magic School, and the Upside-Down Magic class is getting blamed!

Yes, Marigold did shrink Lacey Clench to the size of a gerbil. But that was an accident. And, yes, most people weren’t prepared for Nory to transform into a squippy (that’s half squid, half puppy), but it’s not like Nory meant to mix up paws and tentacles. And while Bax does have the unfortunate magical condition of turning into a stone, he swears he has nothing to do with the rocky magic that’s been happening in Dunwiddle’s halls.

When things get messy, it’s easy to point your finger at the kids with the messiest magic. But the Upside-Down Magic students aren’t going to let themselves get in trouble. Instead, they’re going to find out what’s really going on, and get their school back on track before something really wacky happens.

Upside-Down Magic #1: Upside-Down Magic – Sarah Mlynowski, Lauren Myracle & Emily Jenkins

Nory is ten and desperately wants to pass the Big Test to gain entry to the elite Sage Academy where her father, Dr Horace, is the principal. Her brother, Hawthorn, who is sixteen and a Flare, and her sister, Dalia, who is thirteen and a Fuzzy, both attend Sage. The problem is that Nory’s magic goes wonky. When she tries to turn into a cute black kitten she does, sort of. Except her kitten becomes a bitten; half kitten, half beaver, and the beaver part of her wants nothing more than to chew wood and build a dam.

After failing the entrance exam to Sage, Nory winds up being sent to live with her Aunt Margo, who’s practically a stranger, so she can attend the Upside-Down Magic class at Dunwiddle Magic School and Nory’s not happy about it at all. All she wants to do is fix her magic so she can be normal.

In this world of magic there are the five F’s:

  • Flares, who can do fire magic
  • Fuzzies, who do animal magic
  • Flickers, who can make themselves or objects invisible
  • Flyers are usually only able to fly themselves, but special flyers, like Aunt Margo, can take passengers
  • Fluxers can transform into animals. “Thinking about opposites is a great place to start understanding unusual magic.” Ms. Starr’s Upside-Down Magic class is being offered for the first time and Nory and her fellow misfits are the outcasts in the school. In Ms. Starr’s class Nory and her classmates learn to trust, forgive and manage their emotions. Hopefully they can also learn that being different means that their abilities are special, not something to be ashamed of.

Nory’s classmates have some really interesting abilities. Elliott is a Flare but his fire magic can turn into ice. Andres floated up to the ceiling one day and hasn’t come down since, so he’s afraid of wide-open spaces. Pepper is a Fierce, an Upside-Down Fuzzy, who terrifies animals including Fluxers. Pepper is afraid of snakes. Sebastian is a Flicker who sees sound waves. Marigold shrinks things and is also described as having a hearing aid. Willa is a Flare who makes it rain indoors. Willa is afraid of worms. Bax turns into a rock and needs medicine to change back. Naturally he’s afraid of sledgehammers. We don’t know what Ms. Starr’s ability is yet, but we know she’s afraid of heights.

This is a feel good story that made me smile and I feel better about the world now. I love stories about outcasts who learn that fitting in doesn’t have to be the goal and that being different should be celebrated. I read this book a couple of years ago and enjoyed the reread even more. I love this Upside-Down class and can’t wait to read about their accidents and triumphs in the rest of the series.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Once Upon a Blurb

Nory Horace is nine years old. She’s resourceful, she’s brave, she likes peanut butter cookies. Also, she’s able to transform into many different animals. Unfortunately, Nory’s shape-shifting talent is a bit wonky. And when she flunks out of her own father’s magic academy, Nory’s forced to enter public school, where she meets a group of kids whose magic is, well, different.

This new, offbeat series from hit authors Sarah Mlynowski, Lauren Myracle, and Emily Jenkins chronicles the misadventures of Nory and her oddball friends, who prove that upside-down magic definitely beats right side up.