marycatelli (marycatelli) wrote,

The Evil Wizard Smallbone

The Evil Wizard Smallbone by Delia Sherman

Nick, a run-away boy, in the snow, stumbles on a grand house, and bookstore.  Hammering on the door bring out a man who asks him whether he can read -- he lies and says not -- and then drags him in to do his work, and never learn to be an evil wizard like him, since he can't read the books.

Meanwhile, the nearby town of Smallbone Cove has some problems with motorcyclists.

It involves an old rivalry, all sorts of skins used in shape-shifting, nursery rhymes, E-Z Spells for Little Wizardz, a librarian in a wheel chair, Nick's uncle and cousin, collecting eggs by magic, the details of the Contract, the way the bookstore's shelves keep changing, being a mechanic, and more.

He reads a fairy tale at one point, and in the end, the author mentions that she was rewriting that.  Never having read that one myself, I was thinking "Master and Pupil."  You might also recognize the tale if you've read "Farmer Weathersky" -- it's a kind of obscure type, nowadays.
Tags: fiction reviews: children's fantasy, fiction reviews: fairy tale based

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