Janis Mackay crept modestly onto the children’s book writing scene in 2009 when she won the Kelpie’s Award with Magnus Fin and the Ocean Quest. Modestly but not quietly.
Magnus Fin and the Selkie Secret is the third Magnus Fin book, so Magnus’s many fans have some idea of what to expect, namely an enchanting hero who is part seal and part human, coming to the rescue of his selkie family. The books are set on the north coast of Scotland, where Janis lives, so the settings are highly evocative. Janis’s storytelling skills dance on the pages as she outlines the environmental damage that the sea is subjected to as the good king Neptune loses his powers. Magnus, aided by his friend and cousin, has to recover the key to the treasure that gives Neptune his power. Well, of course he succeeds, but there are a few surprise rewards for everyone who works for the side of good.
Alongside the adventure story, we have a young boy bearing immense responsibility and Â carrying it off through loyalty and determination â€“ and just a touch of magic. Magnus’s family and friends are not like other human beings and the theme of the book explores the difficulties faced by those who are and who are made to feel ‘different’. It also looks at the effect on those who are close to these people, and who have to live with their eccentricities. It is written with sympathy and understanding but there is no talking down. The book is perfect for intelligent 10 year olds and is a creditable addition to the kelpies library.
This is the third book in the Magnus Fin trilogy. It will be loved by existing fans and will no doubt bring Janis many more. Also available as an e book for the most up to date readers!