The Maloneys' Magical Weatherbox by Nigel Quinlan is a middle grade book that is currently scheduled for release on July 28 2015. Neil and Liz Maloney have a secret; their father is the keeper of the Weatherbox, a magical phone booth that rings four times a year, signaling the changing of the seasons. But this summer when the family gathers to send off the season, the phone doesn’t ring and autumn does not arrive. Instead a mysterious tourist of magic shows up at their doorstep, along with two nonsensical hags and one cat-shaped bog beast. The only one not taken by surprise is their neighbor Mrs. Fitzgerald, who seems to be able to make the elements of weather itself do her bidding. Now it’s up to Neil and Liz to discover the source of Mrs. Fitzgerald’s power and restore order to the climate.
The Maloneys' Magical Weatherbox is a story that has adventure, some mystery, and plenty of character development. The story alternates between viewpoints, which bothers some readers, but I think the transitions work well here. The Maloney siblings and parents are all interesting characters with much more to them than you expect when you start the book. In fact, even the most innocent and basic character (such as a cat) are much more than they appear. I loved the layers of each and enjoyed the discovery of their more unique aspect. The action and adventure of the story starts out like an expected fantasy novel, but as the story continued and we learn more about their world and how important each character is in the big picture it just expanded more and more. While there was a solid resolution, I would love to return to this world and have another adventure with the Maloneys or their friends.
The Maloneys' Magical Weatherbox was a great middle grade novel that can appeal to the older children and adults can also enjoy. THe characters and the story are quite dynamic with several layers and simply so much going on that it should have been overwhelming, but it wasn't. I love the world Quinlan created here, and hope that there will be further adventures here, even if it is unrelated to the Maloneys.