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SOMETHING TO READ

“Magicalamity” by Kate Saunders; Delacorte Press, $16.99.

Tom Harding is just an ordinary 11-year-old boy who lives above the deli his parents run. But one morning he wakes up and everything has changed. He discovers he has a fairy godmother (named Lorna Mustard); that his father is a fairy facing the death penalty back in the fairy kingdom but has been temporarily turned into a bat; and that his mother, for her own safety, has been hidden in a jar of sun-dried tomatoes! And that Tom himself is a “demi-sprite” or half-fairy, half-human – and with the right spell, he can fly!

With the help of his fairy godmothers (he has more than one, it turns out), Tom must enter the fairy realm to prove his father’s innocence and rescue his parents. The evil Tiberius Falconer and his nasty wife, Dolores, are formidable enemies. But it turns out there is a fairy underground that also wants to rid the realm of Falconer rule.

Saunders has spun a funny, smart, suspenseful fantasy here with wonderful details about London and the alternate universe of the fairy realm. (The woman Tom’s father is accused of killing is sealed in a glass coffin, housed in a chapel with “adorers” who sob about her death, almost like Lenin’s Tomb.) Along with the hilarious godmothers and other great characters, there are dragons, flying carpets, invisibility spells, lightning guns, even a glass coffin.

Another title by this author: “Beswitched.”

– Jean Westmoore

SOMETHING TO DO

The Key Bank Family Film Series continues at 2 p.m. Sunday with “Hotel Transylvania” (PG). Tickets are $2. For more information, call 692-2413

SOMETHING TO LEARN

The United States became involved in World War I in 1917. By that time, most Americans had sided with the British and French, who were fighting the Germans. Americans were angry because German submarines, or U-boats, were sinking American ships suspected of aiding Britain and France. In 1915, the Germans sank a passenger liner, killing 128 Americans. The Germans stopped the U-boat attacks for a while, but began the attacks again in 1917. On April 6, 1917, the U.S. Congress declared war on Germany.