cover image Perrywinkle and the Book of Magic Spells

Perrywinkle and the Book of Magic Spells

Ross Martin Madsen, Dirk Zimmer. Dial Books, $8.95 (48pp) ISBN 978-0-8037-0242-4

Take a book about a seven-year-old wizard-to-be, give him a book of magic spells and a wisecracking pet crow named Nevermore, add Zimmer's characteristically quirky illustrations, stir with a snappy text and what do you have? A spellbinding debut for Madsen, who handles the difficult beginning-reader style with aplomb. Perrywinkle has a little trouble mastering wizardry, a trade he inherited from his father, the Great Wizard. First of all, he often reads the opening lines of a spell but doesn't bother to read the end lines, until disaster strikes. He misunderstands the rule ""Wizards do not spell!'' until his teacher requests that he spell waterfall and he floods the classroom. And he develops Magic Feverthe disease of casting spells to settle playground disputes. But once Perrywinkle finds a friend, with whom he can share magic and other things, all ends well. (4-8)