Wishes Come in Threes


Wishes Come in Threes is a heartwarming, tender and witty middle grade novel about belief – in friendship, in yourself and perhaps, in just a little magic.  Phyll’s summer has not got off to the best of starts. Her family has moved to the seaside, but it’s a long way from perfect. Her mum is sick, she has an enemy called Hilda, who bullies her and what’s more, someone is stealing dogs in the town.  Her father also steadfastly refuses to let her have a dog.

Things change for the better when Phyll meets Mr Djinn – a wise old man who lives in a car home.  He insists he’s thousands of years old and a genie. Phyll has a fertile imagination, but even for her this is a tough claim to believe.  That is, until Phyll starts making changes in her life, spurred on by a wish for change and Mr Djinn’s gentle encouragement.

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Wishes Come in Threes

Andy Jones

(Walker Books)

In Wishes Come in Threes, Phyll has recently moved from London to the coast with her family.  Her Dad hopes the move will help Mum find happiness again. Mum is a writer, but she has been suffering from depression for a while.  Phyll has been missing the emotional support she needs.
Knowing nobody in the new town, Phyll has just started attending summer camp near her new home.   However, Camp Sunshine is providing to be  another challenge.  Hilda and her two pals, the Horribles, take an instant dislike to her and there is tension in the air. More positively though, also at the camp is a friendly boy, Clark, with a seashell bracelet and he says he is going to the same high school as Phyll come the autumn.  Phyll and Clark become friends.
When bad weather forces the camp to cancel activities, the camp leader offers the opportunity to visit an old folks home. Both Phyll and Clark accept and there she meets the rather mysterious Mr Djinn.  He talks of pirates, teaches Phyll to play cribbage and tells her that magic is real.  What’s more, he says that he is thousands of years old and is in fact a genie.  Phyll decides to go along with the idea, thinking that perhaps Mr Djinn is sinking into dementia. Her friendship with Mr Djinn and also Clark mark an upturn in Phyll’s confidence.  She sets up a free dog walking service, helps a woman with a lost dog, longs for a dog of her own and is instrumental in the arrest of a dog-napper.
This is a wonderful story of friendship, self belief, wishes and the possibility of magic. The characters are superbly realised and the dialogue feels entirely authentic.  Mr Djinn especially has some powerful and profound things to say and his reminiscences take in the slave trade and piracy, which offer lessons on greed and the nature of evil.


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