The Wizards of Once (The Wizards of Once, Book 1)
Twice Magic (The Wizards of Once, Book 2)
Knock Three Times (The Wizards of Once, Book 3)
Never and Forever (The Wizards of Once, Book 4)
By: Cressida Cowell
My Rating: FIVE OUT OF FIVE STARS!
Best for: Advanced independent readers 10 and up or reading aloud to the whole family!
Well, that was a whole bunch of unexpected fun!
Cressida Cowell, who gave the world How to Train Your Dragon, has gifted us with The Wizards of Once–and I’m certain if you haven’t heard of it yet, you will soon. It was wonderful!
Wizards and Warriors are sworn enemies, but when a 13-year-old wizard boy whose magic hasn’t come in yet and a 13-year-old warrior girl who’s more lover than fighter meet on a fate-filled night in the fright-filled Wildwood, you know there’s a grand adventure about start…
And what an adventure it is!
The evil (and quite terrifying) Witches are supposed to be extinct, but they’re not. Forbidden magic, giants who are very kind and think big giant thoughts, werewolves who are a bit crazy, tiny sprites who get into hilarious mischief, magic swords, shape shifting wizards, quests, spells, lessons to learn, characters who grow. Fun, peril, laughs, scares, heart breaks, redemptions, great climaxes, mysteries…These books have everything!
All four books of The Wizards of Once series were wonderful to read!
It will be important for us grown ups to remember these books were written for children, so don’t be turned off by the simplicity. There is very much a relaxed whimsy to the story, and I’m afraid anyone who tries to take these books too seriously might get a little frustrated with the occasional lack of explanation of how idea A connects to idea B. It’s a little bit scattered, even maybe a bit bonkers…but it all adds up to such tremendous fun!
The series wraps up very well, and there are some unexpected surprises in the last few pages that even made this dad-reading-a-children’s-story a bit ponderous.
There are clever and abstract illustrations throughout that I thought were lovely. They reminded me of Roald Dahl’s illustrations in books like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and The BFG. Also, I insist that you listen to the audio. David Tennant of Dr. Who fame doesn’t just read this story…he performs it. Brilliant isn’t strong enough. Just wait until you hear the truly terrifying voice he gives to the Witches!
I’m going to be reading this one with my kids…possibly save it for a nice, long road trip so we can listen to it together.
Great for family read-alouds or strong independent readers 10 and up.