M is for Magic by Neil Gaiman.
HarperCollins Publishers: NY, 2007.

A collection of fantasy short stories by bestselling author of YA and adult books, Neil Gaiman. Most of the stories have only a touch of fantasy: boys attending a party of otherworldly travelers, the selling of a famous bridge made of jewels, a group of unusual characters sitting around telling stories, a Sam Spade/noir style detective story with Mother Goose characters, a stray black cat guarding a family's home, an eccentric club searching for the next fantastic meal, and a return of Galahad searching for the Holy Grail in an unlikely place.

Gaiman is an excellent storyteller. The stories are unique, varied, well written, with some entertaining concepts. Most of the book is light fantasy. More for laughs than deep thinking.

The book seems to be one of the few short story collections accessible to middle graders, excluding folklore books. Even so, some of the stories are more for young adults. Despite the low reading level, it remains one of my favorite of my list of short story collections.

My favorites of the book are The Case of Four and Twenty Blackbirds (detective story), Chivalry (Galahad), The Price (guard cat), and Sunbird (the Epicurean Club). One chapter of The Graveyard Book also appears in M is for Magic.

related-magic, short stories, King Arthur, aliens, mythical creatures, seasons, detective stories, mysteries, Mother Goose
RL=YA-adult, some stories 7th & up

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