Today: April 22, 2024

Magical Munchkins

Silver screens seems to be awash with magic these days. From Gandalf to Dumbledore, to Doctor Strange, there’s never been a better time for fans of all things mystical. However, there’s a new, more junior practitioner in the neighbourhood. Molly Moon And The Incredible Book Of Hypnotism, based on the popular book series by Georgia Byng, hits cinemas from December 2nd and introduces kids to the latest big screen magical hero. In honour of the release, we take a look at some of Molly’s magical contemporaries…

Molly Moon
An orphan forced into care by tragic circumstances? Sure – but any similarities with a certain bespectacled wizard stop there as Molly Moon is leading the charge for the independently minded as she uses her powers (gained from the titular book of hypnotism, by the way) to make life in the orphanage nicer for all concerned. She manages to foil a jewel heist, become a pop star and rescue her best friend in a film that features a veritable who’s who of British entertainment, including Joan Collins, Celia Imrie, Lesley Manville and Anne-Marie Duff. Essential viewing (and reading) for all would-be junior magic makers!

Harry Potter
A titan in the world of junior magicians, Harry Potter is still conjuring up a storm thanks to generations introducing their kids to the Boy Who Lived in both literary and screen form. Harry Potter And The Cursed Child hasn’t hurt the franchise’s legs, either, but at its heart, JK Rowling’s world-beating series is a simple story about facing and conquering adversity …so it’s hardly surprising that kids and their parents continue to endorse the world as much as they do. And as Molly Moon also keenly understands, a sprinkling of marvellous magic doesn’t go amiss, either.

That’s So Raven
Raven Simone started life as part of the Cosby Show’s ever-expanding roster of child stars before she went on to conquer the world in her own series. That’s So Raven saw our hero faced with a magical premonition at the start of each episode, something she then had the remaining half hour to sort out in her own inimitable way. The world recently went mad for the news that the series is getting a reboot – but can anything top the charm of the original?

Matilda
Matilda was always one of Roald Dahl’s most popular stories and the film version (starring Pam Ferris as the iconic Miss Trunchbull and Mara Wilson as the eponymous hero) cemented that. The tale (again, we’re looking at an innocent girl who must face down life at a terrifying school) took on a whole new life, though, when Australian comedian Tim Minchin penned a stage musical version that took the world by storm. Mind you, which child wouldn’t want to have the power of telekinesis? Especially when you think about the teachers you used to hate and how you’d like to level the playing field…

The Worst Witch
Another series facing the reboot treatment, The Worst Witch preceded Harry Potter by a considerable margin and, across seven books (and one much-loved TV series) told the now familiar tale of a child struggling to fit in at a school for witchcraft. Plans have been announced for a new series but, with the original series still fresh in many memories one has to ask what the new version will pull from its sleeve to grab the attention of a new audience.

Sabrina The Teenage Witch
Another US import, Sabrina starred Melissa Joan Hart as the latest in a long line of witches who, along with her kooky aunts and a talking cat, must navigate the perils of American high school whilst trying to ensure her powers go unnoticed, especially by her long time love, Harvey. Given how badly the actor who plays Harvey has aged, it seems there are some things that even magic can’t help with…

Molly Moon And The Incredible Book Of Hypnotism is out now.

Paula Hammond - Features Editor

Paula Hammond is a full-time, freelance journalist. She regularly writes for more magazines than is healthy and has over 25 books to her credit. When not frantically scribbling, she can be found indulging her passions for film, theatre, cult TV, sci-fi and real ale. If you should spot her in the pub, after five rounds rapid, she’ll be the one in the corner mumbling Ghostbusters quotes and waiting for the transporter to lock on to her signal… Email: writerpaula@icloud.com

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