cover image Stopping for a Spell: Three Fantasies

Stopping for a Spell: Three Fantasies

Diana Wynne Jones, Diana Wynne Jones. Greenwillow Books, $14 (148pp) ISBN 978-0-688-11367-4

Set in a contemporary England that is only slightly beset by enchantments, these three stories brim with the wry takes on everyday situations and the marvelous slapstick wizardry that have made Jones's novels ( The Ogre Downstairs ) so howlingly funny. In ``Chair Person,'' a chance encounter with a genuine magic kit brings gloriously grumpy life to ``an armchair with a sofa opinion of itself.'' Armed with an insatiable appetite, a formidable lack of tact and a ceaseless flow of facts gleaned from an entire career spent in front of the television, the self-styled Chair Person threatens to take over Marcia and Simon's home. A chopstick that may or may not be a magic wand wreaks supernatural havoc when the title characters of ``Four Grannies'' come to take care of Erg and his step-sister Emily. In ``Who Got Rid of Angus Flint?'' an exceedingly unpleasant houseguest is finally vanquished when the tables--along with the grand piano, the carpet and assorted chairs--turn on him. None of these lighthearted stories possesses the emotional depth and the layers of meaning found in the author's novels for older readers--nor are they intended to. Aimed at a slightly younger audience, this book is an ideal introduction to the quirky humor and witchery that characterize this author's work, nicely complemented by the line drawings and spot illustrations scattered throughout the text. Ages 8-up. (May)