For lovers of quirky British comic fantasy and fans of Douglas Adams, Jasper Fforde’s new young adult series is a perfect fit. Jennifer Strange lives in the alternate present of the Ununited Kingdom. In her world, magic and sorcerers used to rule, but magic is fading. Now those same sorcerers are pressed to find jobs magically rewiring houses or, worse yet, performing at children’s birthday parties. However, with flares in magic and strange predictions of the death of the final dragon, it feels like the world is on the edge of change.
In an attempt to stop the death of the world’s last dragon, Jennifer finds herself caught in the middle of political and magical upheaval. She struggles to do what is right, but learns that life never goes the way we plan. Fforde creates a compelling story about the dangers of greed and judgmentalism in the midst of truly ridiculous British humor. This is a fun read, but be prepared for British intelligent silliness.
Recommended for ages 12 and up.
The wizard is on summer holiday from running his wizard boarding school, but no one is willing to let him relax. He keeps getting called on rescue missions that begin like traditional fairy tales, but end with an unexpected twist. He goes to rescue a princess who refuses to be rescued from her dragon. One town has a problem with teenage unicorns getting drunk on fermented fruit. In the midst of all these adventures, all the wizard wants to do is save his summer garden from rabbits.
Wizard at Work is full of entertaining and funny stories for all young children, with extra subtle humor to please their parents. This is a good read-aloud with younger children, but also a great book for middle readers. There is something to appeal to all ages and genders.
Recommended for ages 5-10.
This is a fun collection of short stories written by some popular children’s authors. Collected and edited by Jon Sceiszka, the Guys Read series is made to get boys interested in reading. This first book, Funny Business, is filled with 8-12 year old boy humor. It is a good way to get a taste for some new authors without committing yourself to an entire book. I was impressed with the creativity and skill of writing and think it is a perfect collection for its intended audience.