The Missing Magic by Kallie George; illustrated by Alexandra Boiger (The Magical Animal Adoption Agency #3)

A new volunteer has joined the Magical Animal Adoption Agency, and Clover’s not too happy about it! Oliver Von Hoof is supposed to be an expert on magical animals, but he’s barely older than Clover. How can he be an expert on anything? And it doesn’t help that Mr. Jams keeps turning to Oliver instead of Clover for help with the animals.

When Mr. Jams is called away from the Agency on a secret mission, Clover and Oliver are put in charge of the Agency once again. But when Picnic the invisible puppy starts turning visible, and the Agency’s green cat, Dipity, begins to look white, Clover and Oliver realize that all of the amazing creatures are becoming ordinary.

Even Oliver’s trusty magical wands aren’t enough to cure them! Will Oliver and Clover learn to work together in time to restore the animals’ magical powers? Alexandra Boiger’s delightful illustrations shine in the third book of Kallie George’s The Magical Animal Adoption Agency series where an open heart can best the nastiest of spells.

Look at the cover. Look at the synopsis. This is an extremely cute book.

Everything Oliver knows comes from books, and he is certain he knows best in every situation. Also, he has a bad habit of not helping Clover clean up the enormous messes he causes, much less manage unruly charges. This does not endear him to her.

Worse, in Clover’s opinion, is that Mr. Jams seems to think highly of Oliver. Clover’s knowledge comes almost entirely from hands-on experience at the Magical Animal Adoption Agency, a safe haven which is beginning to feel less and less like her place.

*Cue jealousy and massive miscommunication*

The Missing Magic demonstrates, albeit in a magical world, the ease with which insecurity and jealousy lead nice, kind people into spite, and then disaster. The outcome may be predictable for older readers, but the build-up draws on feelings all too familiar to most children and adults, and the resolution and eventual reconciliation between Clover and Oliver still takes courage and a lot of good faith. There are also funny moments.

The Magical Adoption Agency is a safe world in which to explore and acknowledge stormy emotions and your own faults – plus, the animals are adorable. Keep your cat, dog, or other beloved pet close to hand as you read: you may just end up spoiling them rotten with cuddles.

I liked the first book in the series, Clover’s Luck, better; on the other hand, The Missing Magic continues the series trend of being sweet without approaching the saccharine. I enjoyed reading it and would have no qualms about recommending it to young middle grader readers.