Book Review: The Door in the Wall by Marguerite de Angeli


The Door in the Wall by Marguerite de Angeli As this book begins, 10-year-old Robin is helpless and alone. Duty to the king and queen have taken his parents away from him, plague has taken his servants, and a mysterious illness has taken the use of his legs. His dreams of being a page and, some day, a knight seem dashed beyond repair. Then, a friar named Brother Luke comes and takes Robin into his ... Read More »

Book Review: Wizards at War by Diane Duane


Wizards at War by Diane Duane The Young Wizards series has always been among my top recommendations when Harry Potter fans ask what to read next. So, I was already thrilled when I found out that this eighth book in the series was coming out. Then I got an even bigger thrill when Diane Duane HERSELF “owled” me through the COS Forums. Do you dig that, people? The author of So You Want to Be a Wizard is a member of your ... Read More »

Book Review: The Skull of Truth by Bruce Coville


The Skull of Truth by Bruce Coville In the other three “Magic Shop Books,” the adventure begins when a child, running from some bullies (or at least, from a girl who wants to kiss him) finds himself on a strange street, in front of a strange shop owned by Mr. Elives. And then the child spends a handful of pocket change to buy a magical item that can help him or her deal with his ... Read More »

Book Review: Jeremy Thatcher, Dragon Hatcher by Bruce Coville


Jeremy Thatcher, Dragon Hatcher by Bruce Coville The four “Magic Shop Books” by Bruce Coville are united by certain patterns, almost rituals, such as the hero child’s discovery of the mysterious shop where Mr. Elives sells powerful magic objects for pocket change. Another thread that runs through the books is that each child finds just the kind of magic that will help him deal with his own special problem – a problem that many of ... Read More »

Book Review: Jennifer Murdley’s Toad by Bruce Coville


Jennifer Murdley’’s Toad by Bruce Coville We should all be so lucky as to have a teacher or a father like Bruce Coville – if for no other reason than to hear the stories he tells, and to meet the characters he creates (some of them actually came to visit his classroom from time to time). But perhaps the best reason to wish for a Bruce Coville in your life is that he seems to ... Read More »

Book Review: The Monster’s Ring by Bruce Coville


The Monster’’s Ring by Bruce Coville Here is a funny, scary, magical story told by an author who had a deep insight into the feelings and problems of middle-school-aged children – perhaps because he is a school teacher, a parent, and a child at heart himself. It’s also the beginning of a series of four books about children very much like yourself, who enter a world of fantasy and excitement when they stumble into the ... Read More »

Book Review: Airborn by Kenneth Oppel


The author of the Silverwing trilogy has brought back the age of swashbuckling in this award-winning book, soon to be a motion picture. Only the ships, sailors, and pirates in this adventure are riding, not the high seas, but the even higher skies above them. Matt Cruse is a cabin boy on the luxury airship Aurora. In this fantasy variant of the early twentieth-century, lighter-than-air craft rule the skies. And a boy whose father died while serving on ... Read More »

Book Review: Dealing with Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede


Cimorene is not a “proper” princess. She does not want to be one, either. She doesn’’t care for the things “proper” princesses are supposed to do, such as embroidery and etiquette. She wants to do all the sorts of things “proper” princesses don’t do, such as fencing, learning Latin, cooking, and juggling. Finally, when her parents try to marry her off to a proper prince (a handsome one, who hasn’t a thought in his head ... Read More »

Book Review: Wizard’s Holiday by Diane Duane


Wizard’s Holiday by Diane Duane The seventh of the ongoing Young Wizards series is this 2003 book featuring teen wizards Nita Callahan and Kit Rodriguez. Nita’s wizardly kid sister Dairine gets into big trouble for trying to sign Nita and herself up for a wizard exchange program during spring break. As a result, Nita and Kit get sent away as exchange wizards, and Dairine and her dad play host to three young wizards from far away. Only ... Read More »

Book Review: A Wizard Alone by Diane Duane


A Wizard Alone by Diane Duane The sixth book in the Young Wizards series picks up a few months after The Wizard’s Dilemma, and a month after teen wizard Nita Callahan’s mother died of cancer. While she tries to pick up the pieces of her life, along with her sensitive father and her difficult sister Dairine, a strange and lonely intelligence begins making contact with her through her dreams. Meanwhile her partner in wizardry, Kit Rodriguez, still trying ... Read More »