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Jane Yolen: The Wizard of Washington Square

 

Crescent Blues Book Views Starscape Books/Tom Doherty Associates (Trade Paperback), ISBN 0-765-35016-5

Book: jane yolen, the wizard of washington square
When David and his canine friend, D. Dog, relocate from Connecticut to Washington Square Park in New York's Greenwich Village, David finds it difficult to make friends and fit in. But when D. Dog drops a ball in the Washington Square Park fountain, things begin to change.

David meets Leilah, a strange, brave girl who helps him go after D. Dog's ball. Leilah tells David of the three-foot-tall wizard who lives behind the little black door in the Washington Square Arch. David absolutely refuses to believe such nonsense, even when he meets this little man face to face. The Wizard, after explaining his "second rate" wizard status and trying to make David believe, accidentally turns D. Dog into a statue. Things get worse when a shifty antique dealer named Mr. Pickwell absconds with the statue! David and Leilah set off to rescue D. Dog before Mr. Pickwell sells him. In the meantime, the Wizard tries to manage a reversal spell and make things right again.

With something at stake for each main character, including validity (Wizard), friendship (David and Leilah) and life (D. Dog), the ending ties up loose ends and in doing so proves mildly satisfying.

While enjoyable and of particular interest to reluctant readers (short chapters with manageable words and an easy-to-follow plot) who enjoy magic and fantasy, this short chapter book fails to rise to the exceptional level of most of Jane Yolen's stories -- picture books, middle grade and young adult novels alike.

Lynne Marie Pisano

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