Loogie, the prince-turned-genie, and his modern master, Charlie, return in an installment about facing bullies—both real and magical.
Charlie’s friend Tom, who is in on the secret that Charlie has a genie, is jealous that Loogie does things for Charlie but not for him. Tom is also the master of a genie, the wicked former wizard Tildor, but Loogie’s protector, wizard Hendrick (the one who turned him into a genie in the first place), has declared Tildor too dangerous, so Charlie has kept him hidden from Tom and everyone else. When a good deed of Loogie’s goes awry, Tildor goes back to Tom, who wishes that the bully gets his just desserts. But Tildor chooses to interpret Tom’s wishes in a wicked fashion, and Tom discovers the value of trusting real friendship rather than the promise of power. Castle tackles the topic of bullying with moderate success; the point about not becoming a bully to get even with bullies works well, but kids will not have a genie—even an evil one—to get their tormentors to leave them alone. The scene in which Tildor threatens to kill the school bully is reminiscent of how other young teen characters, including Harry Potter, have learned lessons about using dark magic against their foes. There is more plot and less gross-out humor in this episode, with Loogie no longer lodged in Charlie’s nose, though there’s still plenty of comedy in the breezy telling: When the children question Hendrick about how he will contact other wizards, he explains, “Silly child. I have their cell phone numbers. It’s far easier than sending a message by fairy. Fairies are really quite unreliable. They do not like to travel in poor weather. But I must say that finding a cell signal can also be difficult.” The illustrations are a highlight, perfect in style for the tone of the story.
A more serious third volume that competently tackles a difficult issue faced by kids.