Posted by: ktzefr | December 13, 2010

To Come and Go Like Magic…at Christmas!

I always love finding books under the tree.  When I was growing up and my sister started working, Santa Claus became more generous overnight.   I didn’t know whether the elves had just gotten ambitious or I had somehow turned from naughty to nice without being aware of how it happened.

Classics and fluff alike landed under the tree, each book individually wrapped and each one a surprise…Black Beauty, Heidi, Toby Tyler, Annie Oakley in the Ghost Town Secret, The Lennon Sisters — The Secret of Holiday Island, 365 Bedtime Stories…

I loved reading about Heidi’s adventures in the Alps and Toby Tyler running off to join the circus, but I particularly loved the bedtime story book.  It was no great literary read, but the stories held my attention again and again for years.  They centered around the families who lived on What-a-Jolly Street in a suburb far away.  I lived out in the country a couple of miles from a small town, so this street with its kids and pets and sidewalks was an exotic place.  An old woman named Mrs. Apricot lived at one end of the street and the kids gathered around her regularly to hear stories.  She told wild tales about a friend of hers named Tommy Tumbleweed who had traveled the world.  I often flipped ahead through the book just to read the “Tommy” stories to see where he was off to next — China, Japan, Paris, Rome…. I read them over and over again.

Mrs. Apricot’s stories about Tommy were an inspiration when I was writing To Come and Go Like Magic about a young girl who dreams of faraway places and loves hearing the tales of an old woman’s travels.  I hope my book inspires others to consider the wonders of the larger world, as well as the oft-hidden wonders of home.

Offer an inspiration this holiday season.  Buy someone a book!

To Come and Go Like Magic is available at bookstores and online in hardcover and ebook.  I’ve also heard from both women’s book clubs and clubs for moms and kids who have read it.  If your book club is interested, you might also find copies at a library near you.  Links follow…

Barnes & Noble’s Holiday Gift Guide online, Parent’s Choice books, including To Come and Go Like Magic, are Kid Club eligible (special discounts and birthday celebrations)

Books-A-Million (available online and locally, with signed copies, at the McLean, Virginia store) Online discount and Club price discount

Borders (available online)

Amazon (online discounted with both “new” and “used” copies available)

A few independent bookstores in the DC area —

Politics and Prose Bookstore and Coffee shop (available at the store and online)

Busboys and Poets Bookstore

Constellation Books

To find a copy of To Come and Go Like Magic in a library near you, go to WorldCat and enter your zip code.

Happy shopping…only 12 days ’til Christmas!





  1. Oh my goodness, 365 Bedtime Stories was one of my very favorite reads growing up too! I can remember the map of the street on the inside cover and the story at year’s end of Old Father Time turning What-a-Jolly Street over to the new Baby New Year. I even recall a story about a word game, where the children had to come up with a new word that began with the ending letter of the word given by the previous player – the famous word that ended that story was “Appomattox”!

    Thanks for bringing back some wonderful memories!

    • Wow! I can’t believe you read this book, too. I actually still have my copy with the cover falling apart. And, yes, the map on the inside was great. I wrote the names of the families on each of the houses. I loved all the pets — the pony and dogs and the parrot named Hustle-Bustle. And Beppo the monkey. For me it was like spending a year in a different place — a few minutes each night.

      • I have to confess, after reading your post, I actually searched on line for the book, found it on ebay, and ordered it! It is now on my bedside table and I am enjoying revisiting these simple, wonderful stories. Thanks for sparking for me a great childhood memory!

      • I’m glad you were able to get it. The cover of my copy is falling apart and the pages are yellowed and dogeared and full of marks, but I still pick it up on occasion and read a story or two. When I was 10 years old these characters felt so real to me. Now, they feel like old friends.

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