Tasty magic fuels ‘Candy Shop War’

Mix two cups of sugar, a stick of butter, a teaspoon of flavor and some supersecret ingredients and you end up with a nice big batch of magic candy.

And just like at Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory, the confections at Sweet Tooth Ice Cream and Candy Shoppe can have nasty side effects if used for the wrong reasons.

Fifth-graders Nate, Trevor, Summer and Pigeon discover the two sides of magic after going to work for Mrs. White at her candy shop. She gives them treats for what seems like innocent tasks.

Trevor held up his Moon Rock, studying it. “I wonder what happens if we bite them?”
“I bet our heads will explode,” said Nate. He looked around the circle; the others were all watching him with expectant looks on their faces. “Okay, I’ll do it first.” He popped the Moon Rock into his mouth.
“Feel any different?” Pigeon asked eagerly.
“A little,” Nate said. “Sort of tingly. It tastes really good. I almost feel … ’’
He moved to take a step and floated up into the air. He rose slowly, his feet reaching the height of Trevor’s eyes before he drifted downward to land gently on the ground.
“ … lighter,” Nate finished, bewildered.
The stared at each other in awed silence.
“They really are magical,” Pigeon finally murmured.

The friends are excited by the power they experienced and are eager to try other candies. But when Mrs. White begins asking them to carry out darker tasks for their reward, the kids start to doubt her motives. Treasure hunting and magic candy are huge lures, but the adults are acting funny, neglecting their usual responsibilities.

The grown-ups’ strange behavior at first seems like a blessing. The kids can do whatever they want. The magic candy has a lot of perks, too, as the friends can fight back against bullies who pick on them at school. It doesn’t take long, though, before they start to miss their parents’ attention. And they begin to wonder if they can trust Mrs. White, or anyone else for that matter.

“The Candy Shop War” dishes up a heap of fun. Author Brandon Mull, best known for his “Fablehaven” series, coats lessons about trust, loyalty and morality with a layer of sweet adventure that will have young readers salivating for more.

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