The Center for Children's Books


Graduate School of Library and Information Science
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Wizardry and Magick - November 2007

Selected and annotated by Ying Yi Ong


Alexander, Alma . Gift of the Unmage. Eos/ HarperCollins, 2007. Gr. 7-9.
Thea should have had extraordinary magical abilities, being the seventh child of a seventh son and seventh daughter. However, her parents get increasingly disappointed when she does not seem to possess much magical skills. Out of desperation, they ship her off to Cheveyo, who helps her discover her identity. In the process, she also realizes the danger she faces from her enemies, and finds the strength needed to fight them.

Barron, T. A. The Great Tree of Avalon: Child of the Dark Prophecy . Philomel, 2004. Gr. 6-10.
In the world of Avalon, a prophecy was laid down that there would be one who would bring down the world, and only one, Merlin’s true heir, who could stop that from happening. Orphans Scree and Tamwyn, raised together and then separated, are entwined in the unfolding of the prophecy. Tamwyn worries that he is the destined dark one, and desperately wants to change his destiny…

Bernasconi, Pablo. The Wizard, the Ugly, and the Book of Shame . Bloomsbury , 2005. 6-9 yrs.
Leitmeritz is a wizard who can grant people their wishes by using his red book. While away helping a unicorn, his apprentice Chancery tries to use the spells in the book to make him handsome, but only succeeds in blowing apart the book. Although he manages to reassemble the book before Leitmeritz returns, the spells in the book no longer work. Trouble ensues when a cure for sore feet causes the foot to end up on the king's head.

Chima, Cinda Williams. The Warrior Heir . Hyperion, 2006. Gr. 7-10.
When sixteen-year-old Jack forgets to take his medication one morning for the open-heart surgery he had when he was a baby, he discovers he is no ordinary teen. In fact, he belongs to the Weirlind, a magical race of people who live among us, and his role is that of a Warrior. The medication he took was designed to suppress his powers…With the help of family and friends, he regains his identity, and fights to choose his own path.

Croggon, Alison. The Naming . Candlewick, 2005. Gr. 7-12.
Sixteen-year-old Maerad was sold into slavery when her parents died. She is discovered by a mage, Cadvan, who eventually rescues her. Little does she know, however, that she has magic of her own, and prophecies foretell her to be the one who will oppose the Nameless, the dark power rising.

Dale, Anna. Whispering to Witches . Bloomsbury , 2004. Gr. 4-6.
On the way to Canterbury for Christmas, Joe gets off at the wrong train station and ends up having to borrow a bike for the rest of the journey. The bike, however, is bespelled and he ends up at the headquarters of the Dead-nettle coven of witches. He learns that a famous page from the greatest book of magic has gone missing, and teams up with Twiggy, a young witch, to search for it. The villian in this book is (surprise surprise) a librarian!

DeFelice, Cynthia. One Potato, Two Potato . Farrar, 2006. 4-7 yrs.
Mr. and Mrs. O'Grady are so poor they have to share one of everything--their chair, blanket, coat, and even one potato for meals. When digging up their last potato, Mr. O'Grady chances upon a black pot, and discovers that everything they put into the pot doubles, even themselves!

Delaney, Joseph. The Last Apprentice: Revenge of the Witch . Greenwillow, 2005. Gr. 5-8.
Tom Ward, the seventh son of a seventh son, is to be the apprentice of the Spook. The Spook protects the local villages from witches, boggarts, and all things ghostly, but as a result is shunned by villagers. Tom's apprenticeship goes well until he gets tricked into helping to release Mother Malkin, a witch the Spook has imprisoned in his pit.

Desimini, Lisa. Trick-or-Treat, Smell My Feet! Blue Sky/ Scholastic, 2005. 5-8 yrs.
Twin witches Delia and Orphelia devise a nasty plan to ruin Halloween for the neighborhood children. By using a pair of stinky socks in their potion, they prevent trick-or-treaters from saying trick-or-treat but instead, "smell my feet!" All goes well until a clean bootie falls into the brew. The spell is reversed, and the witches turn into babies who get adopted by a neighbor.

Dickinson, John. The Widow and the King . Fickling, 2005. Gr. 7-12.
Phaedra, widow of deposed king Ulfin, and son Ambrose, live in fear of Uncle Paigan. He has been using under-craft, a form of black magic, to live for 300 years. Having escaped from the magical circle of stones set up by Phaedra, he now wants Ambrose’s life to prolong his own. Ambrose escapes to the house of the Widow of Develin to train as a scholar, but finds that refuge slowly but surely being infiltrated into.

Duey, Kathleen. Skin Hunger: A Resurrection of Magic . Atheneum, 2007. Gr. 9-12.
In a world where magic is outlawed, Sadima has to conceal her gift of communication with animals. She is hunted down by Somiss, who sends his servant Franklin after her, and they fall in love. Generations later, Hahn is sent to wizard school, where he learns that only one out of ten survive to become wizards. And the school's founder is Somiss, who will stop at nothing to bring magic back into the world.

Durst, Sarah Beth. Into the Wild . Razorbill, 2007. Gr. 6-9.
Julie has something strange growing under the bed. Her mother, Rapunzel, has been keeping it under control, for that thing, called the Wild, is the essence of all fairy tales. It only takes a wish to set it free, and when it gets free, all the fairy-tale characters are cast back into their old roles, while new ones are created. And Julie has to try to find a way to free the Wild's hold on reality...

Fisher, Catherine. Snow-Walker . Eos/ Greenwillow, 2004. Gr. 6-10.
The evil witch Gudrun is a snow-walker from up north. She has banished her son Kari to prevent his uprising against her, and taken control of the Jarl's people. Jessa and Thorkil, subjects of the present Jarl, are exiled to where Kari is imprisoned for their disloyalty. Together, they make a comeback to overthrow Gudrun. Fisher draws on Celtic and Norse mythology in weaving this delightful tale.

Fleischman, Sid. Escape! The Story of the Great Houdini . Greenwillow, 2006. Gr. 6-10.
Who better than a magician to write about a fellow magician? In this biography about Houdini, magician Fleischman captivates and enthralls without revealing any magician's secrets. He manages to distinguish fact from myth, at the same time retaining a sense of awe and admiration for both fans and non-fans of Houdini.

Gerstein, Mordicai. The Old Country. Roaring Brook, 2005. Gr. 4-6.
Great-grandmother Gisella tells of her life in the Old Country where she lived as both a fox and girl until the country was ravaged by war and her family emigrated. This story is told as an allegory and requires some knowledge of World War I and the Jewish trials and persecution.

Hahn, Mary Downing. Witch Catcher. Clarion, 2006. Gr. 4-6.
Jen and her dad move into a castle they inherited from her great-uncle. While there, Jen's dad befriends a mysterious woman, Moura, and is bewitched by her. Moura is looking for a witch catcher, that unbeknownst to her, has already been found and broken by Jen. More surprisingly, a fairy emerges from within and confirms Jen's uneasiness about Moura.

Hamilton , Virginia . Wee Winnie Witch's Skinny: An Original African American Scare Tale . Blue Sky/ Scholastic, 2004. Gr. 3-5.
James Lee's Uncle Big Anthony is being used by a Wee Winnie (a witch) to take nighttime rides across the sky, and his uncle is shrinking before his eyes! The arrival of Mama Granny stops the witch's nighttime escapades, but not before James Lee gets a ride himself.

Hightman, Jason. Samurai . Eos/ HarperCollins, 2006. Gr. 7-10.
In this sequel to The Saint of Dragons, Aldric St. George and his son Simon, fight to rid the world of dragons. Needing the help of magician Alaythia, they follow her trail to Japan . There, they find the need to join forces with the Samurai dragon hunters in order to prevent an alliance between the two most powerful dragons of the East, the Dragon of Japan and the Dragon of Bombay.

Jones, Diana Wynne. The Merlin Conspiracy . Greenwillow, 2003. Gr. 6-10.
Roddy and Grundo are members of the King’s Progress, who travel round the Isle of Blest (an alternate England ) maintaining the balance of magic in the world. Nick Mallory lives in modern-day England , knows about other worlds, but cannot get to them on his own. A turn of events has Nick meeting the powerful wizard Romanov and getting involved with helping Roddy and Grundo stop a plot to overthrow Blest.

Jones, Diana Wynne. The Pinhoe Egg: A Chrestomanci Book . Greenwillow, 2006. Gr. 5-8.
Ulverscote is home to the Pinhoe and Farleigh witches. Gammer Pinhoe secretly starts war with the Farleighs, and is discovered by granddaughter Marianne. At Chrestomanci Castle , enchanter Cat discovers something amiss in the neighboring woods while out riding. Marianne and Cat meet, bond over a mysterious egg found in Gammer's attic, then join forces to bring peace to both families and discover what is amiss in the woods.

Jones, Ursula. The Witch's Children . Holt, 2003. 5-8 yrs.
Having the witch’s three children in the park spells trouble. When little Gemma has her boat stuck in the middle of the pond, Eldest changes her into a frog so she can retrieve her boat but he doesn’t know how to change her back. Middle One decides to help by changing the ice-cream lady into a princess to kiss Gemma into a handsome prince. But Gemma wants herself back, and Little One screams “Mommy!” to save the day.

Krull, Kathleen . Houdini: World's Greatest Mystery Man and Escape King. Walker , 2005. Gr. 3-5.
In this biography of Houdini, Krull traces his humble beginnings as Erik Weiss of Hungarian Jewish descent, to a household name in entertainment. Apart from including information about Houdini’s commitment to his family, Krull also includes illustrations of Houdini’s favorite performances.

Larbalestier, Justine. Magic Lessons . Razorbill, 2006. Gr. 7-12.
In the second installation of Larbalestier's trilogy, Jay-Tee, Tom and Reason are to try to negotiate the cost of magic wielding. Using magic could lead them to die young, and refusing to use magic would make them go mad. In the midst of their struggles, Reason finds herself stranded in New York City , trying to control a power she has little understanding of.

Larbalestier, Justine. Magic or Madness . Razorbill/ Penguin, 2005. Gr. 7-12.
All her life, Reason was taught by her mother to guard against grandmother Esmeralda’s magic. One day, she is taken from her mother’s care by the state and placed in her grandmother’s house in Sydney . Upon trying to escape through a back door, she finds herself halfway around the world in New York . With her newfound friend Jay-Tee, Reason has to start accepting and controlling her own magic before it drives her insane.

Larbalestier, Justine. Magic's Child. Razorbill, 2007. Gr. 7-12.
This is the final installation of the Magic or Madness trilogy, and opens with a pregnant and magic Reason. Reason faces disappointment and sadness, being rejected by the baby's father and seeing her best friend slowly dying. As Reason tries to work through her magic, she realizes how magic can be a disease, and has to make a choice between staying in the world of magic, or in the ordinary world.

Meddaugh, Susan. The Witch's Walking Stick . Lorraine / Houghton, 2005. 4-6 yrs.
An old witch has her walking stick stolen from her by a playful dog while on a walk. She then offers a little girl, Margaret, three gold coins if she helps retrieve it. Margaret does, but realizes it is a magic walking stick. She borrows it for a while to teach her mean brother and sister a lesson before returning it to the witch. Unbeknownst to her, she has used up all the stick's magic power…

Pratchett, Terry. A Hat Full of Sky . HarperCollins, 2004. Gr. 6-10.
Tiffany Aching of The Wee Free Men fame returns here in her own journey of discovery. She is apprenticed to Miss Level, a witch with split personalities (literally). During that time, she is also stalked by a hiver who wants to control her mind. It’s then the Nac Mac Feegle to the rescue! 

Pratchett, Terry. Wintersmith . HarperCollins, 2006. Gr. 6-8.
Winter has fallen in love with thirteen-year-old Tiffany Aching. To win her love, he has made snowflakes and icebergs in her image. However, this cannot go on, for Spring has to come, so Tiffany enlists the help of everyone from junior witches to Granny Weatherwax to the Nac Mac Feegles (Wee Free Men). 

Rowling, J.K. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince . Levine/ Scholastic, 2005. Gr. 5-9.
The sixth installation takes a turn for the darker side with characters killed off and disappearing from the wizarding world. Harry prepares for the final showdown with Voldemort by learning more about his past, and learns Occlumency to prevent the recurrence of the pain in his scar. The book’s ending, however, comes as a shock and leaves readers wondering how much more sinister events in book seven will be.

Sawyer, Ruth. The Wee Christmas Cabin of Carn-na-ween . Candlewick, 2005. Gr. 4-6.
Though pretty and kind, nobody in Carn-na-ween wants Oona, child of tinkers. After the death of her foster parents, Oona wanders from cabin to cabin, helping the old, sick, and new births, and finds temporary shelter, but famine strikes and Oona is no longer welcome. She leaves the village an old woman and gets ready to die, only to be awakened by the Gentle People who build her a cabin of her own.

Sedgwick, Marcus. The Book of Dead Days . Lamb, 2004. Gr. 7-10.
The time between Christmas and New Year is known as the dead days, where spirits roam restlessly about. It is also the time where the magician Valerian has to search for the book which will free him from the pact he made with the devil many years ago. Together with his servant Boy and orphan-girl Willow , they embark on a journey that spans five days but which will change the relationship between Valerian and Boy forever.

Sherman, Delia. Changeling . Viking, 2006. Gr. 4-6.
Neef is a human changeling who lives in New York Between, a parallel New York of spirits, vampires, fairies, elves and creatures of all sorts. After breaking a rule one day, she loses the protection of the Green Lady of Central Park. In order to regain her protection, Neef is required to complete three heroic tasks, and while doing so, she encounters her double, who aids her in her tasks.

Skye, Obert. Leven Thumps and the Gateway to Foo . Shadow Mountain , 2005. Gr. 5-7.
Human Leven Thumps is the lone descendant of the man who created a gateway between Foo and our world, allowing humans to dream. Sabine, wicked ruler of Foo, wants to rule this world as well, but that would mean the destruction of both worlds. Lev is the only person who can prevent that from happening, and together with Clover, Winter, and Geth, they set out to find the gateway before Sabine.  

Tiffany, Grace. Ariel . Geringer/ HarperCollins, 2005. Gr. 7-12.
This book is a reinterpretation of Shakespeare's Tempest by Tiffany. There is the same cast of Ariel, Sycorax, Caliban, Prospero and Miranda among others, but slight differences abound. Ariel is released by Prospero early on, and Caliban is not a monster but has a deformed leg. Tiffany takes a revisionist stance with this book by attempting to show the motives behind characters' behaviors.

Vande Velde, Vivian. Witch's Wishes . Holiday House, 2003. Gr. 2-4.
A scatterbrained witch falls from the sky on her way to the All Hallow’s Eve Gala, and trick-or-treater Sarah offers her a Band-Aid. The witch is touched and decides to grant her fairy wand magic powers for one night. She soon discovers it was not a good idea after everyone has a dog at the end of the night…

Watts , Leander. Ten Thousand Charms . Houghton, 2005. Gr. 5-7.
Eleven-year old Roddy has been making rope at Mr. Queed’s rope factory with no end in sight. Thea’s father is a deposed Germanic king who has settled with his daughters just outside Roddy’s town in America , where strange beasts still roam. Enter evil Scalander, of the forest, who sees Thea and wants her for his bride. Roddy, the king and his daughters then join forces to fight against Scalander.

Wells, Rosemary. The Small World of Binky Braverman . Viking, 2003. 5-8 yrs.
Binky Braverman gets sent to his aunt’s home while his parents await the arrival of a new baby. Despite her good intentions, he is miserable having to keep plates clean and wear tight and itchy clothes. That is, until the characters from household products come alive to keep him company. There are the yellow bears from the syrup bottle, the blue nun from the ink bottle, and Ike from his playing cards, amongst other lovable characters.

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