Becoming a member of the LoveReading4Kids community is free.

No catches, no fine print just unconditional book loving for your children with their favourites saved to their own digital bookshelf.

New members get entered into our monthly draw to win £100 to spend in your local bookshop plus lots lots more...

Find out more

The Time of Green Magic

Written by Hilary McKay

Family / Home Stories Fantasy / Magical Featured Books for 7+ readers Featured Books for 9+ readers

LoveReading View on The Time of Green Magic

A magical story, beautifully written, of dark winter nights and the strange events that might happen!

A new book from Hilary McKay is always a joy – and this one does not disappoint. A newly blended family move into an ivy covered, slightly eerie house that has room for them all.  They work to find a way to make their new family grouping compatible. Abi struggles to get used to her two new brothers, Max and young Louis.  She resents that she has to share her father Theo, and her Granny Grace’s letters from Jamaica.  


The new family all spend time and energy making the house their own, but mysterious things happen as they settle in. Abi seems to be able to fall right into the books she reads until she actually experiences salt spray and the green flash of parrots in the room with her. Similarly, Louis summons a visitor, but as Louis’s visitor becomes more and more frightening, he has to work with Abi and Max to send his visitor back from where it had magically sprung up.  


This is a totally engaging read, full of green magic, imagination and family dynamics that feel authentic and realistic. The theme of cooperation and support running through are uplifting, though not necessarily easily achieved. Highly recommended. 

Tricia Adams

Other Info

Macmillan Children’s Books is thrilled to publish The Time of Green Magic by Hilary McKay who won the Costa Children’s Book Award 2018 with her unique novel, The Skylarks’ War.  

The Time of Green Magic is a return to contemporary fiction for McKay, and will hold huge appeal for fans of her Casson Family. This new novel is wonderfully memorable and touching and follows children Abi, Louis and Max, as their two single parents bring their families together, moving into an eerie ivy-covered house with room for all of them.  But the newly blended family find that strange things happen when they are alone in their new home:  When reading alone, Abi finds herself tumbling deep into books; Louis summons a startling guest through his bedroom window and even Max has started to see shapes in the shadows. As Louis’ visitor becomes too alarming to keep secret, he finds he cannot manage without Abi and Max’s help.  Can they find out where this mysterious creature has come from and how to get it back there??   

This is a magical and beautifully written story of dark winter nights, a secret visitor, books which become doorways into other worlds and a house full of green magic from one of the best children’s writers working today.  A future classic which will be read by children for decades to come.  

The Time of Green Magic Synopsis

From acclaimed author and Costa winner Hilary McKay comes The Time of Green Magic: a beautiful, spell-binding novel about new families, a magical old house and a mysterious cat . . .

When Tom and Polly marry, blending their single parent families together, their children find it hard to relinquish their old lives. Max realizes his birth dad will never come home now, while Abi suddenly finds herself a middle child, expected to share far too much - especially with grubby little Louis. The family start over together, stretching their finances to the limit and renting an eerie, ivy-covered house, big enough for all of them.

But when the children are alone there, strange things start to happen. Worried, Louis summons comfort from outdoors, and a startling guest arrives - is it a cat, or an owl, or something else? Abi reads alone, tumbling deep into books. Max loses his best friend and falls in love.

Meanwhile, Louis' secret visitor is becoming much too real. And when Max and Abi too start to see the great spotted cat-thing that arrives in the night, it becomes a problem the three of them must find a way to solve - together. But where has the creature come from, and how will he get back?

The Time of Green Magic Press Reviews

Hilary McKay has a rare gift for novels about families and their interplay. -- LoveReading4Kids

Vivid, hilarious, and heartbreaking, Hilary McKay's radiant characters touch my heart like real people, friends and loved ones I know well. Possibly the finest writer of our time. -- Elizabeth Wein

wise and kind and utterly heart-wrenching and full of characters you will give your whole heart to -- Anna James

McKay is a superb writer -- Sally Morris - Daily Mail

McKay couples warmth and grace with wry humour like nobody else out there -- Katherine Rundell - The Guardian

Hilary McKay is one of the great writers of children's fiction -- Sarah Hughes - Independent

Picking up a book by Hilary McKay is like slipping on bed socks on a chilly night. She knows how to look after her readers by ensuring that her characters are interesting and loveable from the start . . . -- The Times on The Skylarks' War, selected as Children's Book of the Year

If you loved this, you might like these...

The Christmasaurus and the Winter Witch
The Danger Gang
The Time of Green Magic
Amelia Fang and the Bookworm Gang - World Book Day 2020

All versions of this book

ISBN: 9781529019247
Publication date: 20/08/2020
Publisher: Macmillan Children's Books
Format: Paperback

ISBN: 9781529019261
Publication date: 05/09/2019
Publisher: Macmillan Children's Books an imprint of Pan Macmillan
Format: Paperback

Book Information

ISBN: 9781529019261
Publication date: 5th September 2019
Author: Hilary McKay
Publisher: Macmillan Children's Books an imprint of Pan Macmillan
Format: Paperback
Pagination: 224 pages
Suitable for: 7+ readers, 9+ readers
Genres: Family / Home Stories, Fantasy / Magical

About Hilary McKay

Hilary McKay won the Costa Children's Book Award for The Skylarks' War, the Guardian Fiction Prize for The Exiles, and the Smarties and the Whitbread Award for The Exiles in Love and Saffy's Angel respectively. Hilary McKay's Fairy Tales was her first book with Macmillan Children's Books and is a critically acclaimed collection of clever retellings. You can read her character Rose Casson's blog by clicking here - and Rose's tweets on the right hand side of this page. Q & A with Hilary McKayWhat is your earliest childhood memory?Watching steam trains with my grandfather. He died before I ...

More About Hilary McKay

More Books By Hilary McKay

Cover for The Time of Green Magic  by Hilary McKay
Cover for The Skylarks' War by Hilary McKay
Cover for The Skylarks' War by Hilary McKay
View All Books By Hilary McKay

Share this book