Thursday, July 9, 2009

Wizard's Hall - Jane Yolen

Summary: Poor Henry.

It's not enough that his mother has sent him away from home to learn magic.

It's not enough that everyone at his new school calls him Thornmallow because he's "prickly on the outside, squishy within."

It's not enough that the only talent he shows at Wizard's Hall is an ability to make messes of even the simplest spells.

Now when Wizard's Hall is threatened by a cruel sorcerer's fearsome beast, it is up to Henry --er--Thornmallow--to figure out how to save not only his new friends but also the school for wizards and all the lands beyond. (Summary from book back cover - Image from

My review: Wizard's Hall is a charming and whimsical story about a young boy who doubts his place in the world. Henry is self-conscious and nervous to be at Wizard's Hall, but he doesn't let that stop him from at least trying to soak it all in. As his concerns about his lack of magical talent grow, he almost gives up and goes home--until he learns a most horrible secret.

I thoroughly enjoyed myself and, since Yolen's writing gives this slim novel a fairytale feel, I read through it in nearly one sitting. If your children like Harry Potter, they would probably enjoy this book as well, since it has a few of the same elements --a boy, new to wizardry at a wizarding school where he doesn't quite fit in, and a cast of quirky, eccentric characters.

Above all, Wizard's Hall delivers and important moral message --that we should believe in ourselves and always keep trying. This book has very short chapters and is only 133 pages long, making it the perfect book to read aloud.

My rating: 4 Stars. Might be a teensy bit scary for your little bits. Fine for regular sized ones.

Sum it up: A great way to spend the afternoon.

**Sidenote: If you end up reading/liking this book and decide to look for her others, be forewarned that Yolen's "Briar Rose" is retold in the setting of the Holocaust and should NOT be read post-partum or your husband will find you sobbing hysterically in the bathroom.**

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