Book cover of a gray cat with purple and blue bat wings coming out of its sides on a green background. Above the cat is a white cloud with the words Upside-Down Magic.

One of my favorite things about working in the Children’s department is being surrounded by so many amazing books. Unfortunately, I don’t always have time to read as much as I would like, especially when new books are coming out all the time. I love it when patrons come in and recommend their favorite books to me, especially when I am not familiar with the books. Last year, a patron told me all about Upside-Down Magic by Sarah Mlynowski, Lauren Myracle and Emily Jenkins. I fell in love with the series!

In this series, everyone has different forms of magic powers. When their magic comes in at age 10, students are given a test to determine which magic is strongest, and they go to school to learn how to perfect this magic. They will be a Flyer, a Flare, a Fuzzy, a Flicker, or a Fluxer. For the characters in Upside-Down Magic, their magic isn’t exactly typical. They end up getting sent to a special class where they can learn to control their magic better. As they learn more about their unconventional magic, they find that oftentimes, this “wonky” magic is just what is needed to save the day.

If you had magic, what kind of magic do you think you would have?  Let’s do some tests and find out where your strengths are!

Flyer Magic

Flyers, as their name suggests, can fly. Flyer magic is tested by lifting yourself two feet into the air. This test is a little hard to replicate, so let’s play a little game instead. You will need a balloon.

Blow up the balloon and tie it. Toss the balloon into the air and see how long you can keep hitting it up in the air without letting it touch the ground. Feel free to grab a partner and hit the balloon back and forth, counting how many times you can hit the balloon before it hits the floor. If you have more than one balloon, see how long you can keep both balloons flying in the air before they drop. 

Flare Magic

Flares can control heat and fire, to the extent of heating things up with their hands and holding fire. Flare magic is tested by how well the student can roast a marshmallow. If you’re not quite ready to roast a marshmallow as a Flare, here is a simple way to create a tasty snack at home.

A smore with marshmallow and chocolate melted between two graham crackers.You will need:

  • Marshmallows
  • Chocolate bar (such as Hershey)
  • Graham crackers
  • Plate

Break a graham cracker sheet in half and place one half on a microwave safe plate. Break the Hershey bar into four sections. Place one section onto your graham cracker. Put a marshmallow on top of the chocolate. Microwave on high for 20-30 seconds, until the marshmallow gets big and puffy. Carefully remove the plate from the microwave. You might want a grownup to help you if it is too hot. Place the other graham cracker half on top and smoosh it all together. Enjoy!

Fuzzy Magic

Fuzzies can communicate with animals. Some can speak animal languages, and they are automatically liked by animals. Fuzzy magic is tested by trying to convince a unicorn to eat a mushroom (something unicorns do not like) from your hand (unicorns are skittish around most humans). Here is a craft you can do to make your own unicorn friend.

You will need:

  • A paper cup
  • Colorful paper
  • Scissors
  • Glue

Unicorn made from a purple cup, with black eyelashes, a silver glitter horn, and red and pink hearts on the forehead.

Side view of a unicorn made from a purple cup, showing a pink and purple tail.

If your cup is not a colored cup, feel free to color it with crayons or markers, or wrap it in colorful paper. Cut out different shapes from the paper. You will need: a horn, two ears, eyes, three hearts and a tail. Feel free to mix and match the colors to make it more colorful! Once cut out, glue them all to the cup to make your unicorn friend.

Flicker Magic

Flickers can turn themselves and other things invisible. Flicker magic is tested by making an animal disappear. Let’s practice with something a little easier…a penny!

Materials needed for magic trick, including an upside down clear plastic cup next to a penny.You will need:

  • Clear plastic cup
  • 2 pieces of white paper
  • Pencil
  • Scissors
  • Glue (liquid glue is preferred)
  • A penny
  • A towel or cloth big enough to cover the cup

Place the cup upside down on a small piece of paper. Trace around it with your pencil. After you cut it out, carefully glue it to the rim of the cup and let dry. To prepare for the trick, place the cup upside down on the other piece of paper. Put the penny on the paper next to the cup. Tell your audience that you will make the penny disappear. Cover the cup with your towel. Say some magic words and create a distraction by waving your arms around. While doing this, pick up the towel with the cup under it and move it over just enough to cover the penny. Pick up the towel, leaving the cup covering the penny. The penny will now be hidden under the white paper. Be sure to practice several times before you test your magic in front of a live audience.

Fluxer Magic

Fluxers can turn into animals. They begin their training by turning into kittens (a beginner animal) and work their way up to more complex animals. Fluxer magic is tested by turning into a black kitten. Dory had upside down magic that made her flux into several different animals…at the same time!

You will need:

  • Fluxer template (Find it here)
  • Crayons or markers
  • Stapler (not required but recommended)

Print out five to six copies of the Fluxer template. I recommend stapling them together along the long side on the left, at the top, the bottom, and right over the black dot. This step is not necessary, but it makes it easier to flip the pages. On each page, draw the full body of an animal. Make sure the center part of the body is positioned over the dotted line, and the sides of the body touch the red lines. Write the first three letters of the animal name on the top line, and the last three letters of the animal name on the bottom line. Cut along the dotted line, stopping at the black dot. Flip through the pages, and see what new animals you can create. The name of your animal will be the first three letters at the top of the page followed by the first three letters at the bottom of the page.

Drawing of a gray elephant

Drawing of a small yellow bird with red wings.

Drawing showing an animal made up of the head and shoulders of a gray elephant and the belly and legs of a yellow bird

So how did it go? Did you find out what kind of magic you possess?

If you want to read the books, we have lots of different ways you can access it. Find it in print, on Playaway, as an audiobook or an eBook. Disney also released it as a movie in the summer of 2020. You can find the DVD here. Although I will warn you, as with all book to film adaptations, the movie is VERY different from the books.