cover image The Story of Gumluck the Wizard (Gumluck the Wizard #1)

The Story of Gumluck the Wizard (Gumluck the Wizard #1)

Adam Rex. Chronicle, $14.99 (140p) ISBN 978-1-7972-1323-1

Rex (A Little Like Waking) deftly wraps big themes—friendship, honesty, justice, self-awareness—into an absurdly silly and heartfelt series launch chronicling a wee wizard’s quest to become a helpful hero. Cheerful-to-a-fault Gumluck the wizard is ambling through his weekly routine of using magic to clean his house for visitors when he meets a raven named Helvetica—the tale’s wise, sarcastic narrator, who frequently addresses readers directly (“Maybe you didn’t know you were reading a story told by a raven. If you do not like it, you can leave”). Helvetica observes, via humorous and insightful commentary, as Gumluck does the bidding of rude, ungrateful characters; becomes haunted by a ghost in his hair; and is the subject of the townspeople’s ridicule, all in his pursuit of being crowned the Harvest Hero in this year’s annual festival. But some tough love from Helvetica and a revelatory nighttime visit from the Truth Fairy spark reflection for Gumluck. Pencil-like b&w illustrations capture the novel’s most poignant moments with an animated vibe, depicting Gumluck as a short, roundish figure with wispy black hair whose skin tone reflects the white of the page, in a goofily magical kingdom with a bustling fantastical population. Ages 6–9. Agent: Steven Malk, Writers House. (Aug.)