The Kingdom of Broken Magic

The Kingdom of Broken Magic

By Author / Illustrator

Christine Aziz



Age range(s)



Everything with Words




Paperback / softback




Streetwise pickpockets, Maggie and Josh, are inseparable. Only their friendship makes life bearable at the Scribbens Home for Very Wayward Children, run by the villainous Miss Scribbens. But when Maggie encounters a strange and sinister circus, she abandons Josh and tumbles headfirst into a world of dangerous and dazzling magic. She's determined to solve the mystery of its disappearing performers and animals. Where do they go? Who is the mastermind behind it all? Josh sets out to find Maggie, unaware of the dark dangers that lie ahead.



Maggie and Josh both live in the Home for Very Wayward Children, run by the evil Mrs Scribbens. Both are desperate to escape, but despite many tries, have not succeeded. Then, one day, Maggie is accidentally taken away by the circus and Josh is left alone. The circus is peopled (or should I say animalled?) by a wonderful cast of characters, and Maggie finds a new way of life. But she can't forget about Josh and he can't forget about her.

This is a dreamlike story, with all the zaniness of dream experiences and a slightly but delightfully mad cast of characters. The tigers, 'vegetarians darling', are just wonderful, they deserve a book of their own, and the elephant knits. The monkey talks in cockney rhyming slang and the people are just as entertaining. Mrs Scribbens is a vile villain and not the only one. Her sidekick, a crow named Carry-On, gives you the flavour of the quirkiness that runs through the whole book.

Oddly, considering the animals all talk throughout the book, I found the section where the children enter the actual Kingdom of Broken Magic the least satisfying part, as well as very dark and scary in places. I wanted to spend more time at the circus!

The illustrations, by Ewa Beniak Haremska, match the mood perfectly, almost Monty Pythonesque in places in their design, full of darkness and detail. I thought they were extraordinary drawings and I loved that they were given whole pages throughout the book.

I think some children may find this book a bit frightening, whilst others will love the insanity of it all.  Definitely a book that is very individual and a unique addition to the canon of fantasy stories.

246 pages / Reviewed by Jacqueline Harris, teacher

Suggested Reading Age 9+


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