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I don't review books I don't like!

*****= An all-time favorite
****  = Outstanding
***    = Above average
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*        = Good,with reservations


***The Wizard's Map

by Jane Yolen

Reviewed June 30, 2003.
Harcourt Brace & Company, San Diego, 1999. 132 pages.
Available at Sembach Library.  (JF YOL).

I thought this trilogy would be a good one to read before we visit Scotland this summer.  This is book one of the Tartan Magic trilogy.

Thirteen-year-old twins Jennifer and Peter come to Scotland with their parents and their little sister Molly, and right away strange things start happening.  Their Gran talks of magic as if it were normal.  Molly finds an old map in the attic.  When she scribbles circles on it, crop circles show up in exactly that place.  Even worse, she’s awakened Michael Scot, a powerful wizard.

The twins must defeat Michael Scot, following hints to figure out how.  This is one of those books where the heroes follow their noses to figure out how to use magic and overcome their foe.  I’ve heard fantasy books criticized for using “Plot Tokens,” but I find that I prefer knowing what the characters need to do at each step, rather than blundering into the correct answer, as they must in this book.

Still, it’s an interesting and engaging story, while staying simple for younger readers.  I should mention that my 8-year-old son just loved it, and is eagerly reading the next book in the series.  I admit that I also want to know what comes next.

Jane Yolen is also the author of my very favorite fairy tale take-off, Sleeping Ugly.

Other books in the Tartan Magic series:
The Pictish Child
The Bagpiper's Ghost

Other books by Jane Yolen:
Sword of the Righful King
Sleeping Ugly
Mightier Than the Sword: World Folktales for Strong Boys
Girl in a Cage

Hippolyta and the Curse of the Amazons
The Perfect Wizard:  Hans Christian Andersen

Take Joy:  A Book for Writers

Copyright © 2005 Sondra Eklund.  All rights reserved.

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