Book Review: Trouble With Magic


Jul 29, 2015


Nine-year-old Veena is brimming with ideas that send her and her beloved Aunt Malu careening on adventures. These well-intentioned enterprises often end in disaster, but that hasn’t deterred Veena yet. She’s always back with another brilliant idea – this time to help Aunt Malu get rich.

The Trouble With Magic, Asha Nehemiah, story for kids, books, coverAunt Malu is a master herbal potion maker famous for Malu Herbal Cures, but Veena thinks she should aspire beyond instant wart-removers and nail-growing cream. She urges her aunt to create things that even people without maladies would want to use: soap or face cream. Aunt Malu, however, doesn’t want to make anything so pedestrian. Instead, she continues making her herbal remedies until, one day, she accidentally creates wall paint that is nothing short of magical.

With Veena’s help, Malu’s Herbal Paints sell out almost instantly. Aunt and niece book two tickets on a Caribbean cruise, but the celebration is premature. Unhappy customers demand a full refund, and Veena must use her active imagination if she wants to her “get Aunt Malu rich” plan to come true.

Trouble With Magic is a short and simple story of perseverance, resourcefulness, and chasing dreams. Asha Nehemiah has written a lively story for kids using just two characters to highlight the ingredients of successful relationships. Both Veena and Aunt Malu have their flaws, and while they may not see their own, they observe the foibles of one another. Yet, this doesn’t stop them from loving and believing in one another. It’s a nice lesson in patience and trust that will introduce young readers to the foundations of all long-term relationships, be they familial, friendly, or romantic.

Trouble With Magic is part of Duckbill Books’ “hOle books” series meant for the beginning reader and is perfect for children aged 6 and older. These books denote the series by a small hole that runs through the books in the top right corner, which Priyankar Gupta does a lovely job of incorporating into the inky illustrations that bring Veena, Aunt Malu, and the magic alive.


Written By Shivani Shah

Shivani Shah spent several years practicing law until she gave it up to pursue a life of creativity. She is a writer and editor living in Mumbai who tweets at @wordsbyshivani and has an unhealthy obsession with green tea.


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields *.

The latest in health, gender & culture in India -- and why it matters. Delivered to your inbox weekly.