The Evil Wizard Smallbone by Delia ShermanThe Evil Wizard Smallbone by Delia Sherman

The Evil Wizard Smallbone

byDelia Sherman

Hardcover | September 13, 2016

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In a hilarious tale reminiscent of T. H. White, a lost boy finds himself an unlikely apprentice to the very old, vaguely evil, mostly just grumpy Wizard Smallbone.

When twelve-year-old Nick runs away from his uncle’s in the middle of a blizzard, he stumbles onto a very opinionated bookstore. He also meets its guardian, the self-proclaimed Evil Wizard Smallbone, who calls Nick his apprentice and won’t let him leave, but won’t teach him magic, either. It’s a good thing the bookstore takes Nick’s magical education in hand, because Smallbone’s nemesis—the Evil Wizard Fidelou—and his pack of shape-shifting bikers are howling at the borders. Smallbone might call himself evil, but compared to Fidelou, he’s practically a puppy. And he can’t handle Fidelou alone. 

Wildly funny and cozily heartfelt, Delia Sherman’s latest is an eccentric fantasy adventure featuring dueling wizards, enchanted animals, and one stray boy.
Delia Sherman is the author of numerous books and short stories for adults and children, including The Freedom Maze and “The Ghost of Cwmlech Manor” in Steampunk! An Anthology of Fantastically Rich and Strange Stories. She also enjoys teaching writing workshops. Delia Sherman lives in New York City with her wife.
Title:The Evil Wizard SmallboneFormat:HardcoverDimensions:416 pages, 8.13 × 5.81 × 1.22 inPublished:September 13, 2016Publisher:Candlewick PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0763688053

ISBN - 13:9780763688059

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Rated 4 out of 5 by from So fun! I had a lot of fun reading this! I loved the characters and it was sweeter than I thought it would be. The ending is very satisfying, but I think the middle might have dragged on too much. Reminds me a little of Diana Wynne Jones, so definitely give it a chance.
Date published: 2017-03-03
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Charming, Magical & Heartfelt If you love Studio Ghibli films like Howl's Moving Castle or Spirited Away, I definitely recommend giving Delia Sherman's The Evil Wizard Smallbone a chance. This book is so charming and heartfelt, brimming with magic and a cast of peculiar characters. I would read a few chapters each night before bedtime like I was a little kid again, delighted in the story and Nick's journey as an unwilling apprentice to the Evil Wizard Smallbone. When Nick runs away from his uncle's home one winter night, escape from abuse is his only thought, not any particular direction. Luckily (or not so luckily) for Nick, he stumbles upon a bookstore named Evil Wizard Books and meets its proprietor, the self-proclaimed Evil Wizard Smallbone. Smallbone needs a new apprentice to care for the bookstore while he locks himself away in his tower, working on spells to defend against his greatest enemy: the Evil Wizard Fidelou. Fidelou and his pack of shape-shifting coyotes are close in breaking down the last protection spells guarding the picturesque coastal town of Smallbone Cove. The residents of Smallbone Cove may fear Smallbone, but he's really more of a grumpy old man. Everyone knows Fidelou is a truly evil wizard and must be stopped. And since Smallbone won't teach Nick any spells, he'll just depend on the self-aware bookstore to help him embrace his magic. Nick is stubborn, frustrated easily, and to the bookstore's resignation, not very patient when it comes to learning basic magic—but he may just be the ideal evil wizard's apprentice and save the day when it counts. Delia Sherman's The Evil Wizard Smallbone is an enchanting blend of modern fantasy and classic fairy tale. Sometimes the pacing would slow down in those quiet moments when Nick would tidy the bookstore or care for the farm animals, but then it would pick right back up when Fidelou and his followers caused trouble. I really enjoyed this MG standalone fantasy, but it was definitely the final chapters that convinced me to bump up my rating. Two words: wizard's duel!
Date published: 2016-09-14

Editorial Reviews

Sherman captures perfectly the slow transition of a kid steeped in grief and misery to a boy who is slowly starting to trust, love, and hope again, and it’s endearing to see Smallbone evolve as well. Fans of McCoola’s recent graphic novel Baba Yaga’s Assistant (BCCB 10/15), which cleverly looked at one girl’s quest to join up with a threatening individual, will appreciate this similar and equally splendid tale featuring Nick and his wizard.—Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (starred review)Though Fidelou and his crew of biker werewolf minions add some dramatic distraction, it is Nick's evolution into a young wizard that commands attention. Readers journey with Nick as he stumbles through what was real in his world, his grief at losing his mother, into a magical world that gives him a sense of purpose. Fans of fantasy will be captivated—and hoping for a sequel.—Kirkus ReviewsAvid readers will enjoy Sherman’s nods to other literary works, and reluctant readers will find themselves immersed in the tale. Recommended for fans of Harry Potter, this story will captivate older readers while remaining accessible to younger ones. Recommended as a first purchase.—School Library JournalMuch of the story’s momentum comes from Nick’s efforts to teach himself magic as he grows along the way from a snarky and self-interested character into someone who takes responsibility for others, including Smallbone’s previous apprentices. Well-timed revelations about the townspeople’s origins also feed the ongoing the end, even this is resolved, in a way that will satisfy wizardly apprentices and readers alike.—Horn BookIn her entertaining modern-day fantasy set in Maine, Delia Sherman (Changeling; The Freedom Maze) examines whether an evil wizard can also be good; the qualities necessary for success; and the importance of writing one's own story...The Evil Wizard Smallbone is a terrific middle-grade fantasy from a skillful, witty, always-inventive storyteller.—Shelf Awareness ProReaders will be hooked early on with the numerous spells, enchanted animals, dueling wizards, and constant action in this fantasy tale. A couple plot twists add to the action.—School Library ConnectionIn an imaginative contemporary landscape of magical pelts and powerful tomes, Sherman (The Freedom Maze) delivers a cast of richly developed characters...Themes that include the importance of self-confidence and self-knowledge, as well as the power of appearances and of reading, should resonate with a broad range of readers.—Publishers WeeklyThis is an unassuming but very smart story of created family and dedication to duty, laced with prickly warmth and humor and populated by people that you wish lived next door...The story is never dull and would make a good read-aloud. Try this with fans of Angie Sage’s Septimus Heap series or Susannah Appelbaum’s Caux books.—Booklist Online