Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Denzil, Apprentice Wizard

Another rollicking book series which has captivated my nine year old son is The Adventures of Denzil, Apprentice Wizard written by New Zealand children's fantasy writer, Sherryl Jordan. We have been progressively working our way through this charming and funny set of books about the exploits of Denzil, the boy wizard, and his master, the great wizard Valvasor.

Unwittingly transported to modern times, Denzil finds himself entangled with the MacAllister family, a lovable lot despite their flaws, and entranced by modern conveniences.  This is a familiar but captivating premise on which to base a children's fantasy novel and one which encourages young readers to think about history, time and place. How would it feel to go back or forward over seven centuries and witness life first-hand?

The first Denzil story, The Wednesday Wizard, was published in 1991 (way before Harry Potter was created), and the final novel, The Silver Dragon, in 2007.   We have the entire boxed set which includes Denzil’s Dilemma and The Great Bear Burglary.   It's been loads of fun to read aloud and the stories have had plenty of magical twists and turns to sustain our interest.   This little series has become one of our firm favourites.

Recommended for 8-10 age bracket.  Both boys and girls will enjoy the series.  Girls will identify with the headstrong protagonist, young Sam(antha) MacAllister, and boys, of course, will become Denzil in their mind's eye.  Mrs MacAllister and I also shared some common traits (a mother's exasperation with circumstances beyond her control mainly, and wry humour), so I found myself travelling in her shoes.


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