Thursday, 4 September 2014


Have you ever dreamt that you could fly? I had many of those dreams when I was a child but they rarely come to me now. How nice if we really could fly like birds. Being in a pressurized metal tube with wings just isn't the same as having open sky all around your body and feeling the wind rush past.

This desire to fly is the basis for a wonderful book by Zilpha Keatley Snider called Black and Blue Magic. Though it was written for children, the story and humor still resonates with all who enjoy good stories.

And how did I find out about this book? My sister Diane bought the paperback version and read it to me during the Easter holidays of 1970. Because I lacked a good magnifying glass, she had to read the story aloud. Both of us loved this tale of a traveling salesman giving a lonely twelve-year-old San Fransisco boy a magic bottle of ointment. We delighted in his discovery of wings appearing on his back after he put a drop of the liquid on each shoulder, rubbing it well into his skin, and recited the incantation.

Harry, the boy in the story, was sworn to secrecy by the salesman regarding the bottle he gave him. This magical present complicated matters for him. Harry could only fly after midnight when practically everybody was a sleep. He had to avoid his concerned mother's watchful eye and make excuses for his sleepiness during the day. He also had some close calls with a few people who saw him.

Forty-five years later, I finally found the e-book version on Amazon. Thanks to the Kindle developers, I have a version for PC which reads the text aloud to me. This brought back many pleasant memories of Diane reading the book to me. I also noticed things which were over my thirteen-year-old head at the time. Even so, the comical bits, such as how a robber wound up tied up in a pair of pink leotards, still had me laughing out loud.

I'm so glad this charming story is available in e-book form. My How I Was Razed book is also in that format as well as in paperback for those who enjoy the physical sensation of books. You can find it at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Virtual Bookworm Publishers.