cover image The Wizard Next Door

The Wizard Next Door

Peter Glassman. HarperCollins Publishers, $15 (1pp) ISBN 978-0-688-10645-4

Despite the pooh-poohing of his family, a boy suspects that his new neighbor, Mr. Myers, is a wizard. Where he sees dragons and monsters, his sister sees just a dog and a cat, and where he sees a space ship, his mom sees just an ordinary moving truck. The boy finally asks why only he can see what's really going on next door. ``Because you're looking for magic,'' Mr. Myers tells him, and invites him over to show him the real source of the enchantment: books, which open up endless magical worlds. The dryly humorous text here plays straight man to Kellogg's distinctive, flamboyant artwork--the text for a scene showing Mr. Myers as a substitute teacher, for example, reveals only that ``his stories really came to life,'' while the exuberant illustrations show the student body being carried off by flying monkeys as Mr. Myers reads aloud from The Wizard of Oz . It's a rollicking good read from beginning to end. Ages 5-up. (Sept.)