Simon Farnaby (text) and Claire Powell (illustrator), The Wizard in my Shed, Hachette Children’s Books, October 2020, 376 pp., RRP $16.99 (pbk), ISBN 9781444954388
The latest in celebrity writer offerings, this book will appeal to kids who like light fantasy with a bit of humour thrown in.
Rose is an ‘ordinary’ girl. One of her main problems is her mother who is still grieving the loss of her husband, Rose’s father, some ten years previous. Rose’s other problem is fitting in at school. She thinks the solution to all her problems is to win a singing competition. The kids at school will be impressed and her mother will be jolted out of her misery.
Enter Merdyn the Wild, a Warlock from the Dark Ages, who has been banished to the 21st century. Merdyn is desperate to find a way home and Rose promises to help him, on the condition that he gives her a potion guaranteed to make her sing like an angel. Lots of hijinks ensue before the inevitable happy ending.
The theme of being true to yourself will resonate with young readers. There are some black and white illustrations (by Claire Powell) to break up the text, but it remains quite a lengthy read for middle primary readers.
Reviewed by Heather Gallagher