The Magic Comes Back: A Max and Sam Adventure

The Magic Comes Back: A Max and Sam Adventure

by Deborah Graham


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Two cousins develop an unlikely friendship as they are transported into a magical wizard world, where they must plot against the king in order to solve an old family mystery.

It's bad enough that Max, who is in fourth grade, has a weird cousin who thinks he is a wizard; when his cousin, Sam, transfers to his school, things seem to have gone from bad to worse. But then Sam shows Max a magic wand and lets him try it-and it works! Max might just be a wizard himself.

After the boys visit their greatgrandmother and find out the true story behind their family's gift for magic, they receive a key which opens an old box they find in her attic. As soon as Max turns the key, the boys are transported to Wizard World, where they must take a series of tests to be accepted into the Wizard Academy. What could possibly go wrong? Max and Sam are about to find out.

In this action-packed tale of magic and friendship, two cousins embark on an unforgettable adventure in a magical world where they discover their talents and a surprising friendship as they plot against the Wizard King in order to solve a family mystery.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781475947588
Publisher: iUniverse, Incorporated
Publication date: 10/03/2012
Pages: 66
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.16(d)
Age Range: 7 - 9 Years

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A Max and Sam Adventure
By Deborah Graham

iUniverse, Inc.

Copyright © 2012 Deborah Graham
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-1-4759-4758-8

Chapter One

The Wand

* * *

"You don't understand. It's bad enough to have a weird cousin who thinks he's a wizard, but having a weird cousin who thinks he's a wizard transfer to your school is like beyond bad—it's horrible," Max whined as he started stuffing his mouth full of his mom's famous chocolate chip muffins before he even sat down. The chocolate chips were still warm and gooey.

"Come on, sweetie, it can't be all that bad," Max's mom said as she tousled his already messy hair with her hand. She smelled like chocolate.

Max protested, "No, I'm serious—you have no idea how bad it is. Sam walks around at recess with his nose shoved in his stupid wizard books, muttering spells. All the kids make fun of him. It's so embarrassing to be related to him. I wish he had never moved to Toronto."

His mom looked at him with her eyebrows raised. "If the kids are picking on him at school, I hope you stand up for him," she said, with that tone that made Max feel all squeamish inside, like he had done something wrong even if he hadn't. Her usually happy blue eyes looked troubled.

"I do, Mom, but I just wish he was normal. Having Sam at my school is enough to make me hate grade four. Pleeeease, Mom, don't make me play with Sam today. It's Saturday. It's bad enough that I have to see him on a school day. Besides, it's the last game of the hockey season today. If we don't make it to the play-offs, this is my last chance to score a goal this year."

Max looked up at his mom with his big brown eyes. He knew she was a softie when he opened them wide and looked up at her. This time it wasn't working.

His mom started clearing the dishes as she said in a tone that Max knew was final, "Sam is family, and he hasn't really made friends here yet. I expect you to be nice to him. He'll be here any minute."

The doorbell rang. "Promise to be nice?" she said as she kissed him on the top of the head.

"I will. I promise," Max said as he rolled his eyes and slowly trudged to the door to let Sam in. Max couldn't help noticing that Sam's red hair, which was normally combed perfectly flat, was a bit messy and his shirt, which was normally tucked in, was a bit untucked. He was sort of dancing on his toes, and it looked like he was hiding something behind his back.

"Hi, Sam," Max said. "What do you want to do today?" Max crossed his fingers behind his back, silently hoping Sam would say something like road hockey or one of Max's new video games—anything but wizard stuff.

Instead, Sam looked mysterious and whispered, "I have something to show you. Let's go to the backyard, where your mom won't see."

Max followed Sam to the backyard, a tiny bit curious about what Sam wanted to show him.

Sam turned to Max and said, "I sent away for a magic wand from this really cool wizard company, and it arrived this morning. I haven't opened it yet. I saved it to show you."

Max tried not to roll his eyes, remembering his promise to be nice. He looked at the package wrapped in brown paper and tied with a string. There were strange symbols on the package—triangles inside circles and stars inside half circles. They looked familiar to Max, and his hands tingled, but he had no idea why.

Sam ripped off the brown paper and pulled the magic wand out of the box. He posed like a magician and held it up in the air.

"That's so lame," said Max, forgetting about his promise to be nice.

It didn't matter, though, because Sam didn't seem to notice in his excitement over the wand.

"Let's try it out!" Sam said as he looked around the backyard. He pointed the magic wand at a small wilted sunflower that was next to the garage.

Sam looked at Max and then back at the flower and said,

"Abracadabra, flower so small; Grow real quick to ten feet tall."

Nothing happened. Max was not surprised. Sam looked disappointed. He handed the wand to Max and said, "Here, you try."

Max rolled his eyes but decided to be a good sport and go along with it. He pointed the wand at the sunflower and said,

"Abracadabra, flower so small; Grow real quick to ten feet tall."

There was as park and a puff of smoke, and the sunflower was suddenly as high as the top of the garage.

"No way!" said Max.

"I don't believe it!" said Sam.

Max looked at Sam. "Is this some kind of prank?"

Sam shook his head with his eyes wide open and said, "Let me try," as he grabbed the wand back from Max. He looked around the backyard again. He saw a bubblegum wrapper in the middle of the lawn. He pointed the wand at it and said,

"Bubblegum wrapper, Turn into a firecracker."

Again, nothing happened. Sam gave the wand to Max, and Max pointed it at the wrapper and said,

"Bubblegum wrapper, Turn into a firecracker."

With a spark and a puff of smoke, the bubblegum wrapper exploded into a little firecracker. Once again, Max and Sam could not believe their eyes.

This had to be some kind of joke. Max turned to Sam and asked, "What the heck is going on?"

Sam said very slowly, "I'm not sure, but I am beginning to wonder if you are a real wizard."

Max looked at him like he was crazy. "Come on, Sam, for real, what's going on?"

Sam asked, "Have you ever heard anything about our great-great-grandpa being a wizard?"

Max shook his head, still looking at Sam like he was crazy.

Sam hesitated and then asked, "Has Nana ever asked you if your hands tingled?"

"Yeah, why?" said Max, suddenly wondering why his hands had just tingled.

"Well, she asked me the first day I moved here when she saw me unpacking my wizard books, and I said no. She looked sort of disappointed and told me it was a sign that someone has magic in them. Are your hands tingling now?"

"Not really," said Max. Now he wasn't sure whether he had felt his hands tingle or not.

Sam went on, "Last summer, when I was visiting Nana, I went up to her attic, and I saw an old black-and-white photo of our great-great-grandpa, and he was wearing a wizard hat. Ever since then, I've wondered if he was a wizard. I wanted to ask Nana, but I was afraid she'd be offended. After all, he was her father."

"He was probably just wearing a costume."

"I knew that's what you would say. That's why I never told you. But I thought now, maybe you'd believe me." Max didn't know what to believe. This day was getting stranger and stranger.

Chapter Two

The Magic Doesn't Work

* * *

Max and Sam were staring at where the bubblegum wrapper had been when Max's mom came outside. She had her long blond hair put up in a messy ponytail, and she had a bit of white flour on her face from baking. "Sam, I forgot to ask you whether you wanted some of my famous chocolate chip muffins," she said. Before Sam could answer, she tilted her head and sort of squinted her eyes. "You two look rather serious. What's going on? Is everything okay?"

Sam looked at Max and said, "What do you think? Should we tell her?"

Max replied, "Yep, I say we tell her."

"Sounds serious," Max's mom said. "Why don't you come inside, and we can talk over milk and muffins."

She went inside and brought them each a glass of milk and some muffins.

Max started eating a muffin while Sam explained how he had ordered a wand from a wizard company and how it hadn't work when he tried it.

Max's mom smiled and said, "Sam, I know how much you love wizards and magic, but just because you sent away for a wand doesn't mean you are going to be able to do real magic."

"Yeah, but it worked for Max," said Sam.

Max's mom turned to Max and raised her eyebrows.

"It's true, Mom, it really did work for me," he said.

Max's mom pulled Max close and whispered in his ear, "Sweetie, when I told you to be nice to Sam, I didn't mean you had to go along with the wizard stuff."

Max pulled away. "No, Mom, for real, the wand really worked."

Max's mom pushed back her chair and smiled. "Okay, I'll go along with this. Show me your magic trick."

Max groaned. "It's not a trick. It's real magic." He looked around the room and said, "Don't you think chocolate milk would go way better with these muffins than plain milk?" His mom nodded. Sam whispered a spell to Max, and Max pointed the wand at the glass of milk and said,

"Just like silk, Make it chocolate milk."

Nothing happened. Max's mom smiled and told them to go back outside and play.

They went to the backyard. "What happened?" said Max. "Why didn't it work?"

"I don't know," said Sam. "Let me read the instructions."

Sam read, "This wand will only work for wizards or wizards in training. This wand comes with two spells in it. To load more magic in the wand, you must ...

"You must do what?" asked Max.

"I don't know," said Sam. "It doesn't say anymore. The sentence isn't finished."

"This is all so weird," said Max.

"If I'm right about our great-great-grandpa, Nana should know something. Let's go see her and ask her."

Chapter Three

The Key

* * *

On the short drive to Nana's house, Max's mom said, "Nana will be thrilled that you boys are coming for a visit." When she dropped them off, she said, "Now behave yourselves. I have some errands to do. Max, I'll be back in a couple of hours to pick you up and take you to your hockey game. Give Nana a kiss for me." She waved at Nana.

Nana was sitting on a rocking chair on the front porch sipping her homemade lemonade. Max's mouth watered when he saw the lemonade. Nana's lemonade was so good. She always said the trick was to make it with half lemons and half limes. Nana had her white hair up in a tight bun, and she had her favorite red and white checkered apron on. In fact, Max was not sure if he had ever seen her without her apron.

"What a nice surprise," Nana said when they got out of the car. "Come here and give your Nana a big hug."

As Nana gave Max a big hug, she ruffled his hair and said, "You are looking more and more like my father every day with your dark hair and those big brown eyes." She then hugged Sam and said, "All those freckles just make me want to hug you and squeeze you to bits!" In the middle of Nana's tight squeeze, Sam's glasses got caught in her hair. They had a good laugh about that.

"Now what brings my two great-grandsons to visit their old Nana on a beautiful sunny Saturday?"

Max jumped in and explained what had happened that morning. Sam told the part about finding the picture of Great-Great-Grandpa wearing a wizard hat. Nana sat so still that her rocking chair stopped rocking. Her eyes were closed. Max wondered if she had fallen asleep. She had a habit of doing that. Max couldn't help staring at her wrinkles and wondering what it would be like to stretch out the skin until it was smooth.

"Nana?" Max whispered, checking to see if she was awake or asleep.

"Just give me a minute, I'm thinking, I'm thinking," she said with her eyes still closed.

She opened her eyes and looked at Max. "Did your hands tingle when you touched the wand?"

Max nodded. "I think they started to tingle when I looked at the package."

She closed her eyes, and Max wondered again whether she had fallen asleep.

Finally she opened her eyes and said, "I've never told anyone this, but I'm going to be a hundred and five this month and I don't know how much longer I'll be around for. So I suppose it's now or never."

"Never told anyone what?" Sam asked as Max and Sam edged in closer to Nana.

"Well, Sam, you are right about your great-great-grandpa. He was a wizard. There, I said it." She paused for a moment and smiled at herself. "When I was a very little girl, I remember my father going to wizard conventions every summer. I remember him telling me to pay attention if my hands tingled or felt warm. 'This is a sign that the magic is in you,' he would say. Oh, how I hoped that one day I would feel the magic."

"Did you ever feel it?" asked Sam.

"Yes, Sam, I did. But by the time I tried to tell him, I wasn't allowed to talk about magic."

"Why not? What happened?" asked Max. He rubbed his hands against his jeans. Just talking about the magic was making his hands tingle.

"One day when I was about five years old, my father came home very upset. He and my mother stayed up talking all night. Several of my aunts and uncles arrived through the night. Everyone was talking at once. I knew something awful had happened."

"What was it?" asked Sam.

"Well, I don't know exactly. I mean, I couldn't just come out and ask. In those days, children were best seen and not heard. So I hid at the top of the stairs and listened. I could only hear bits and pieces. I heard my father say, 'The magic is gone,' and I kept hearing my mother wail, 'How dare he?'"

Nana paused for a moment shaking her head. "Oh, how I hated whoever he was."

"Did you ever find out who he was?" asked Sam.

"No. The next morning my mother sat me down and told me that I was never to talk about magic again. No one ever spoke of that night again. It was so long ago, I had almost forgotten about it until you told me about your morning."

"So what do we do now?" asked Sam.

"Yeah, and what does that have to do with Sam's magic wand and the stuff that happened this morning?" asked Max.

"Well, the night before my father died, he pulled me close and whispered in my ear, 'The magic will come back.' Then he pulled a chain and key out from under his shirt. He took it off and placed it in my hand. He told me to keep it safe until the magic came back."

"What's the key for?" Sam asked.

Nana looked off into the distance. Max wondered again whether she had fallen asleep. She finally spoke. "I don't know. I've never known what the key was for, but I made sure I kept it safe all these years. It's in my jewelry box."

Suddenly Sam jumped up. "There's a fancy old wooden box in your attic. It's locked. I bet the key opens it. Last summer when you asked me to fetch some old photographs for you, I saw it. I tried to open it, but I couldn't."

Nana nodded slowly. "Come to think of it, that was your great-great-grandpa's box. I could never open it. I even tried the key once, but it wouldn't open. For some reason, I kept it all the same. Why don't you go fetch it, and we'll try again?"

Max and Sam headed up the steep, narrow staircase to the attic. It was dark and dusty. There were cobwebs in the corners and even across some of the boxes.

"It's creepy up here," said Max.

"Yeah, let's hurry," said Sam. "Look, there's the box."

"Grab it and let's get out of here."

As Sam grabbed the box off the shelf, a book fell to the floor. Sam bent to pick it up. It was navy blue, with the word Diary in gold lettering on its cover. Sam wiped the dust off of it and put it back on the shelf.

"What was that?" Max asked.

"Just an old diary," Sam said.

He and Max climbed carefully down the narrow staircase. It was so steep they had to go backward, as if it were a ladder.

They were showing the box to Nana when Max's mom arrived. She parked in the driveway and honked her horn. She called from the car, "Max, if you're going to make it to your game on time, we've got to go."

Nana whispered, "Here, take the box and key with you and open it later. Let me know what happens. And don't tell anyone about the magic. They'll think I'm crazy and send me to a home for old people." She winked at them, and then she closed her eyes and started snoring.

Chapter Four

The Final Game of the Season

* * *

On the way to the hockey arena, Max started daydreaming about scoring a goal.

Sam interrupted Max's thoughts as he whispered, "I can't wait to open this box."

"I know. Me too," said Max. "We probably won't have time after the game. I have to admit I'm a bit nervous about opening it."

"Me too. Call me as soon as you wake up tomorrow," said Sam.

Max gave Sam a nod and a thumbs-up.

"What are you two plotting back there?" asked Max's mom.

"We're just talking about some stuff Nana told us today," said Max.

When they arrived at the hockey arena, Max hurried to change into his hockey gear. The locker room smelled like sweaty socks.

As Max was putting on his hockey gear, he heard his coach giving a pregame pep talk in his bellowing voice. "Okay, Blizzards, today is the last game of the season. We need to win this one if we're going to make it to the playoffs. The Tornados are the toughest team in the league. I want to see lots of passing and lots of shots on net."

They headed onto the ice. Max loved the feeling as the cool air of the arena filled his lungs. Max was on the first lineup. He played left wing. As they waited for the referee to drop the puck, Max looked at Scotty Brown, who played centre. Even though Max was a bit tall for his age, Scotty towered over him. Scotty was the best player on the team. Max was always passing to Scotty, and Scotty was always scoring the goals.


Excerpted from THE MAGIC COMES BACK by Deborah Graham Copyright © 2012 by Deborah Graham. Excerpted by permission of iUniverse, Inc.. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents


Chapter One The Wand....................1
Chapter Two The Magic Doesn't Work....................7
Chapter Three The Key....................11
Chapter Four The Final Game of the Season....................17
Chapter Five The Wizard Trainer....................21
Chapter Six The Fire Test....................25
Chapter Seven The Wind Test....................29
Chapter Eight The Water Test....................33
Chapter Nine The Missing Wand....................39
Chapter Ten The Diary....................43
Chapter Eleven The Plan....................47
Chapter Twelve The Wizard King....................53

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