The Wizard in My Shed
Simon Farnaby, illustrated by Claire Powell
Hodder Children’s Books
Having narrowly avoided spluttering my coffee over the opening pages of Horrid Histories star Simon Farnaby’s new adventure tale, I envisaged that I’d continue spluttering throughout (not coffee – I hastily consumed that before resuming reading), and so it was. (Though I did have to stop after every chapter to take a few ‘mellow moments’ – like Evanhart, wizard Merdyn’s bestie until he decided to follow the ‘path of darkness’ and become a warlock aka a bad wizard x1000.)
The story follows both madcap Merdyn (from the Dark Ages) and would-be star singer,/dancer
twelve year old Rose, from now, residing in the normal town of Bashingford with her mum and brother. Each has a desire: Merdyn wants to avenge his banishment to the Rivers of Purgatory (actually it was The Rivers of Time) and at the same time get out of the 21st century in which he’s mysteriously arrived and return to the Dark Ages; Rose is anxious to sort out her broken family,
after her father’s death, which happened before this story begins.
There’s also Rose’s guinea pig, Bubbles, a frequent poo-er, that seemingly doesn’t do much else and certainly doesn’t enjoy sharing Rose’s fairy story books.
When Rose happens upon a ‘cloth creature’ wearing peculiar shoes, gesturing weirdly and thinking he’s in the land of Purgatory – you can work out his name – she decides he might actually be of some help to her.
A deal is struck. A family-sorting-out spell (and perhaps one to make her the world’s best singer) in exchange for Rose’s assistance in coping with so many strange 21st century ways and means.
That necessitates keeping the visitor in the garden shed away from Mum – to protect her smartphone – though that might be the least of her worries about the curious stranger. They will need to locate Merdyn’s treasured magic staff and find a way to return him whence he came. Surely nothing could possibly go a-miss – could it … ?
There’s masses of madness, magic, crazy characters,
not to mention high drama, and that enormously endearingly bonkers Merdyn, to enthrall readers throughout what proves to be a heart-warming tale.
And, with the addition of Claire Powell’s terrific illustrations, the enchantment just got even stronger, while ‘the world watched in silence.’
Read alone or, read aloud it’s an absolute winner.