‘Magic Delivery’ by Clete Barrett Smith: Wonderful middle grade action fantasy

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Rating: 5 stars

“Magic Delivery” is the second series by Clete Barrett Smith. The first is the “Aliens on Vacation” series about a Bed and Breakfast inn for visitors from other galaxies. All the books in the series are filled with humor, action and wacky aliens. They also convey some great sentiments: appreciation of diversity, loyalty, honesty, and perseverance.

“Magic Delivery” promises more of the same. The main character, Nick, is a smart middle-school kid. His parents are divorced, and his mother doesn’t earn enough to support them; his father doesn’t pay the child support he is supposed to, so Nick earns money at school “helping” other students do better on tests.

When he and his best friend are riding their bikes, they are almost run over by a strange truck driven by — and they find this hard to believe — a bear. The truck swerves to avoid them and ends up at the bottom of a steep hill. The rest of the story is nonstop swashbuckling action and goofiness, with a bit of scary thrown into the mix.

It turns out that the bear is a guy in a magic costume who is delivering the costumes for a witch — and it’s supposed to be top secret. Suffice to say that the magical costumes do not remain hidden, the delivery does not go smoothly, and Nick and his friend Burger are mixed up with it and happy about that (could this be Nick’s chance to make some real money?).

Smith creates a world filled with magic, and his genius is that it seems totally believable. His characters are likeable because they are not perfect — they have their weaknesses. Readers will be able to identify with not only the characters but some of the situations — being bullied, for example.

It’s all great fun and it leaves room for sequels, so one can hope it’s the start of a new funny and fabulous series.

Please note: This review is based on the final hardcover book provided by the publisher, Disney – Hyperion, for review purposes.