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Yolen, Jane
New York : Harcourt, Brace, 1999.
IL 5-8  RL 5.9
ISBN 0152020853

(2 booktalks)

Booktalk #1

Poor Henry.  His life just seems to have no direction.  He wasn't quite sure what he wanted to be and had gone through many ideas.  When he mentioned, half-heartedly, that he might want to be a wizard, his mother pounced on the idea.  Before he knew it, Henry was off to Wizard's Hall to become a wizard.  He hadn't really been serious about this but here he was.  His wizard name was Thornmallow but many of the faculty couldn't remember it.  He was the 113th student at Wizard's Hall and the faculty seemed to think that was a big deal.  Thornmallow was a bit of a disappointment at school though.  He seemed to have no real talent for wizardry.  When he overheard the faculty talking about the dark  wizard who was coming back to take over the school, he was very afraid.  Somehow, the faculty believed that Thornmallow could save the school!!!  To find out what happens, read WIZARD'S HALL.

Booktalk #2

Like most growing children, Henry’d had many different ideas about what he’d like to be when he grew up. He was mostly interested in outdoor work, like being a tree warden or a juggler, but he’d never definitely decided on anything.  Then one day, when Henry was 11, he mentioned wizardry to his dear ma and she thought it was an excellent idea.  “Good steady work,” she said.  And before Henry knew it she had packed his bag, prepared some food for his journey, and sent him on his way.  He tried to explain that he really wasn’t sure he would be a good wizard, but his mother replied. “It only matters that you try.”  “Don’t forget to write.”                    
                    What was Henry to do?   He was a good boy who did what he was told.  So he set off down the road.  Getting to Wizard Hall was not a problem; every child knew where it was.  The road was even marked with helpful signs:  THIS WAY TO WIZARD’S HALL.                      
                    Still, as Henry traveled he became more sure that he would be a better farmer or maybe a cook than a wizard and decided to return home.  The problem was that the road wouldn’t let him.  When he tried to go home his feet stuck to the road! There was no help for it.  Henry would have to go on to Wizard’s Hall.  He remembered his mother’s words, “It only matters that you try.”                    
                    So Henry became the 113th student at Wizard’s Hall. Just as he suspected, he really had very little talent for wizardry, but he did try very hard.  And he was needed at the Hall.  A threat lies over Wizard Hall and all of the countryside around it.  The powerful and evil Wizard Nettle is coming. He’ll bind the souls of all and sundry into the hide of his terrible quilt monster unless the inhabitants of Wizard Hall can find a way to stop him.  All they can do is to try.  (Alice Brice,, Media Specialist, Baron DeKalb Elementary, Camden, SC)

SUBJECTS:     Wizards -- Fiction
                        Magic -- Fiction
                        Perseverance (Ethics) -- Fiction


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