This book is a wondrous blend of poetry and illustration. The cover draws you in immediately. A wizard, with long white hair and beard, wearing a green robe raises his arms to a magical light above. In one hand is a crooked wand. Caught in the rays is a small green frog. The picture fairly glows with magic.
The illustrations inside are not a disappointment. They are all exquisite two page illustrations. They gleam with magical charm.
The story rhymes but not in that irritating singsong way that many picture books adapt. It feels as though you are reading a book of poetry, much like one of my favorite books by Prelutsky The Dragon’s Are Singing Tonight.
“The Wizard, watchful, waits alone
within his tower of cold gray stone
and ponders in his wicked way
what evil deeds he’ll do this day.”
A ragged crow, sitting on a cobwebbed table filled with magical paraphernalia, watches the Wizard as he gazes out his tower window onto the small town. The reader is instinctively intrigued as to what wickedness is about to unfold.
This story is basically a vignette wherein the Wizard transforms a frog into a flea into a pair of mice into a cockatoo into chalk into a silver bell and back into the bullfrog. Children may find it upsetting that at the end he dispenses of the bullfrog in a cloud of smoke. The story ends:
“Should you encounter a toad or lizard, look closely…
it may be the work of the Wizard.”
Although the story is easy to understand, I would recommend it for school-age children and up. Younger children, especially those who believe in magic, may be disturbed by the events.
School-age children who love magic and wizardry will be captivated by this beautiful book.
Click on the cover of the book to purchase a copy.
Other books written by Jack Prelutsky.
Other books illustrated by Brandon Dorman.