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WIZARD AT WORK by Vivian Vande Velde Kirkus Star


A Novel in Stories

by Vivian Vande Velde

Age Range: 10 - 13

Pub Date: April 1st, 2003
ISBN: 0-15-204559-7
Publisher: Harcourt

An onslaught of princesses in distress and other professional obligations put paid to a young wizard’s hopes for a peaceful summer vacation. Not sure whether an irascible witch’s prediction that he will never find happiness unless he looks past surface appearances is wisdom or an actual hex, the never-named spellcaster reluctantly takes on one ostensibly simple case after another, doing his best to avoid jumping to conclusions. It’s a good thing, too, as he rescues one princess from a dragon, only to find out that it’s the dragon who needs rescuing, figures out that another princess’s supposed evil stepmother is really just nearsighted, and concocts a challenging quest to interest prospective royal suitors in an unconventional third royal, then falls happily in love with her himself. It’s not all princesses, either: he also has to find a new home for a monster’s ghost (“Enjoy the lake. It’s called Ness”), quell a gang of extremely adolescent unicorns, and more. Weaving hilarious twists on familiar folktales and deft, clever solutions to a succession of domestic crises into these linked tales, Vande Velde not only invites readers into the most entertaining magical world since Patricia Wrede’s Enchanted Forest, but presents an engagingly wry magic worker with a sense of responsibility that turns out to be as much a gift as a burden. Another winner from the author of Heir Apparent (2002). (Fiction. 10-13)