The Center for Children's Books


Graduate School of Library and Information Science
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Dragons, Magic, and Wizards - January 2007

Selected and annotated by Karam Hwang


Alexander, Lloyd. The Rope Trick. Dutton, 2002. Grades 4 – 7.
A brilliant stage magician, Lidi needs one more trick for her repertoire: Ferramondo's famous rope trip. On her quest to find him, Lidi picks up several new companions, including Daniella, an orphan girl with true psychic powers. When unscrupulous men kidnap Daniella to exploit her powers, Lidi's journey takes a turn into unforeseen territories.

Bernasconi, Pablo. The Wizard, the Ugly, and the Book of Shame. Bloomsbury, 2005. Ages 6 – 9.
Assistant to Leitmeritz the wizard, Chancery is bright blue in color and so sad at heart . Ashamed of being known only as "The Ugly" throughout the village, Chancery tries to use his master's Book of Spells to become handsome. But instead of granting his wish, the book blows apart. Can Chancery fix the book and get his wish? Wonderfully illustrated with fanciful collages.

Carus, Marianne, comp. Fire and Wings: Dragon Tales from East and West. Cricket, 2002. Grades 3 – 6.
This collection of fifteen traditional and original stories features dragon tales from around the world, with such human characters as soldiers, village girls, shepherd lads, and a kitchen-maid who can juggle. Accompanying the stories are black and white illustrations, drawn in a cartoon-like yet sophisticated style.

Duane, Diane. Wizards at War. Harcourt, 2005. Grades 6 – 9.
Young wizards Nita and her best friend Kit are called upon to fight the most dangerous threat yet. All adult wizards are losing their powers and their ability to believe in magic. Nita, Kit, and their young allies across the planets must combat the source of this growing darkness, even as their own powers begin to diminish.

Jones, Diana Wynne. The Merlin Conspiracy. Greenwillow, 2003. Grades 4 – 10.
A conspiracy threatens to upset the delicate balance of magic between the kingdom of Blest and the non-magical universes that are its neighbors. The book follows Roddy, a young member of Blest's royal court, and Nick, a boy living in modern-day England, whose paths intertwine as they race to save the magical balance of the multiverse.

Mahy, Margaret. Alchemy. McElderry, 2003. Grades 7 – 12.
Seventeen year old Roland is a popular prefect, devoted son and big brother, when a teacher catches him shoplifting and assigns him the unusual punishment of spying on a mysterious classmate, Jess Ferret (a.k.a. Weasel). A student of alchemy, Weasel draws Roland into a mysterious plot that leads him to discover the people in his life are not what they seem.

Meddaugh, Susan. Harry on the Rocks. Lorraine/Houghton, 2003. Ages 5 – 8.
Knocked unconscious when a seagull mistakenly drops a clam on his head, Harry the boatman drifts into the stormy sea and shipwrecks on a small deserted island. Deserted, that is, except for a large egg, which soon hatches into a baby lizard. But what kind of lizard has wings and breathes fire? Cheerfully illustrated in watercolors and colored pencil.

Meddaugh, Susan. Lulu's Hat. Lorraine/Hutton, 2002. Grades 3 – 5.
Every generation, a true magician with real powers is born into Lulu's family of magicians, but everyone knows it's not Lulu because she was adopted. But when Uncle Jerry lets Lulu be his assistant for the summer, Lulu finds a top hat that gives her amazing powers. But where does the hat's magic come from?

Nimmo, Jenny. Midnight for Charlie Bone. Orchard/Scholastic, 2003. Grades 4 – 7.
When Charlie Bone discovers he has inherited magical powers from his presumed-dead father, he is sent by his wicked aunts to Bloor's Academy, a special boarding school for gifted children. There, he becomes embroiled in multitude of mysteries, and learns that an epic battle between a legendary king's children – five good, five evil – is about to erupt.

Nix, Garth. Abhorsen. EOS/HarperCollins, 2003. Grades 7 – 12.
Orannis, the Destroyer, enemy of all Life, has been freed from its subterranean prison. Lirael, former Second Assistant Librarian and newly anointed Abhorsen-in-Waiting, is the only one who can stop it from annihilating the multiple universes. With only her nephew Sam, the Disreputable Dog, and Mogget the cat on her side, can Lirael succeed? The third book in Garth Nix's Abhorsen series.

Pierce, Tamora. The Circle Opens: Cold Fire. Scholastic, 2002. Grades 7 – 10.
Daja, a fourteen year old mage with the power to control fire, is visiting friends in Kugisko when a series of mysterious fires begin erupting throughout the city. With her new friend Ben, a local firefighter, Daja investigates the cause of the fires but is unprepared for what she finds. The third book in Pierce's The Circle Opens series.

 Priceman, Marjorie. Princess Picky. Roaring Brook, 2002. Ages 5 – 8.
Princess Nicki is perfect in every way, until the day she refuses to eat her vegetables. Not one nibble will she take, of even the smallest pea, despite the efforts of the court's pastry chef, seamstress, imperial tinker, coachman, jester, and stargazer. Can the court magician and his magic pips succeed when all others have failed? Vividly colored illustrations accompany this humorous tale.

Spirin, Gennady, ad. The Tale of the Firebird. Philomel, 2002. Ages 6 – 10.
In this beautifully illustrated adaptation of several classic Russian fairy tales, Ivan, the youngest son of the Tsar, must capture the magical Firebird that has been stealing his father's golden apples. Aided throughout his long journey by a talking wolf with the power to fly, Ivan confronts Koshchei the Immortal and Baba Yaga the Wicked, rescues Yelena the Beautiful, and wins glory and love.

Vande Velde. Vivian. Wizard at Work: A Novel in Stories. Harcourt, 2003. Grades 6 – 9.
A wizard is settling into a relaxing and solitary summer vacation when he is called on to assist with a series of magical predicaments. In the five interconnected but standalone stories, the wizard finds himself in such situations as ridding a town of rampant immature unicorns, harvesting a crop of golden cucumbers, and finding true love with an unconventional princess. Told in a humorous tone at a brisk pace.

Ward, Helen. The Dragon Machine. Dutton, 2003. Ages 6 – 9.
On a rainy Thursday, George begins seeing dragons everywhere, though they are unnoticed by everyone else. After he makes the mistake of feeding them, the dragons start following George around and causing mischief for which he is blamed. To deliver them to a safe place where they can neither cause nor come to any harm, George builds a magnificent flying dragon machine.

Wilkinson, Carole. Dragon Keeper. Hyperion, 2005. Grades 5 – 7.
In Han Dynasty China, Ping, an eleven year old slave, and Long Danzi, the last dragon on earth, are both captives of cruel masters. When Ping sets her fellow prisoner free, he takes her with him on a perilous journey to regain his powers. Chased by dragon hunters and villains, they form an unlikely friendship, and Ping discovers her true destiny as a Dragon Keeper.

Young, Ed, ad. The Sons of the Dragon King: A ChineseLegend. Atheneum, 2004. Grades 3 – 6.
The nine sons of the Chinese Dragon King waste their time engaging in pointless endeavors until their father suggests ways they can use their unique skills for the good of the kingdom. Caldecott winner Ed Young breaks this traditional folktale into nine episodes, one for each son, and illustrates them with a combination of freewheeling ink brushstrokes, calligraphy, and colorful symbols.

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