Wilfred the (Un)Wise by Cas Lester

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Wilfred the (Un)Wise by Cas Lester

Buy Wilfred the (Un)Wise by Cas Lester at Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Category: Confident Readers
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Hilary Hawkes
Reviewed by Hilary Hawkes
Summary: A funny and entertaining wizard and magic story with all the best ingredients: spells, time-travel, chaos and friendships.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 288 Date: January 2016
Publisher: Piccadilly Press
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-1848124646

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Back in Ye Olden Days, young Wilfred lands himself a dream apprenticeship training – learning how to be a wizard under the instruction of Wincewart the Withering, Castle Mage and Soothsayer of Wallop in the Wold. But learning magik isn't easy and things can go drastically and hilariously wrong – like accidentally transporting himself one thousand years into the future, where he meets a girl called Bel who loves doing magic tricks herself.

What a brilliantly entertaining story: Wilfred, a real wizard-in-training from the days when there were actual real wizards (ok, I may have been reading too many stories) and today's clever illusionists and magicians who have us all guessing at how they do what they do. Wilfred, because he is from medieval times, thinks Bel must be a real wizard, like himself – an easy mistake to make. I mean, she presses a switch and hot chocolate flows from a machine into a mug, weird moving metal things with people in stop and let her cross the road and a contraption for dishes gets them all magically cleaned at her command. Meanwhile, Bel is busy thinking Wilfred is a great actor and is just taking his wizard image a bit too seriously. It's quite understandable. Surely he is just another boy magician who has arrived in Withering Wallop in the Wold for the annual fun Midsummer Madness Wizarding and Witchcraft Festival. I couldn't wait for the moment when Bel would realise that her new friend really is a boy from medieval times who can communicate with Wincewart through the scrying glass (crystal ball) from her dad's magical goods shop.

And I loved all the mayhem and humour: the misunderstandings between Wilfred and Bela, Wincewart's astonishment and discovery that his apprentice has disappeared into a future Wallop in the Wold, the real magik that draws the crowd at the festival as Wilfred gets all sorts of things to vanish like mobile phones and, oh dear, a Chihuahua. The story just bounces along with lots of lovely olden day words (like olden) and funny spell names (like Ye Spectacular Summoning Charm) and had me laughing out loud in several places. Eventually, after the right kind of enchantments and interventions and everyone working together nicely, it reaches a thoroughly magical and satisfying ending with all wizards and Chihuahuas returned to their rightful time zones.

What I always notice and love in good children's stories is the way the characters discover something about themselves, change and find something positive and good in their own uniqueness or their relationships with others. And there it is: Wilfred starts to feel less inferior, Wincewart realises how much he needs his young apprentice and Bel finds her confidence to perform in front of an audience. I thought friendship, appreciating each other, not being afraid to make mistakes and not giving up are all good healthy themes weaving their way through the story too.

The book is divided into thirty-two chapters – not too lengthy and each one divided with little sub-headings. So a good read for confident and independent young readers to get into themselves. The story flips back and forth from Ye Olden Days to today, one thousand years later. There is a scattering of delightfully magical black and white illustrations by Mark Beech throughout which really convey the chaos and mayhem of the story.

So, exciting and enchanting and full of hilarious gone-wrong magic. Just the sort of story to keep young readers hooked on books.

Thank you to the publisher for supplying a copy to review.

Readers who like magic and fantasy stories might like to this longer length book too Kira (Shadow of the Dragon) by Kate O'Hearn. We also enjoyed Do You Speak Chocolate? by Cas Lester.

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Buy Wilfred the (Un)Wise by Cas Lester at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Wilfred the (Un)Wise by Cas Lester at Amazon.co.uk Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
Buy Wilfred the (Un)Wise by Cas Lester at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Wilfred the (Un)Wise by Cas Lester at Amazon.com.


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