Synopses & Reviews
Roald Dahl meets Eva Ibbotson in this hilarious middle grade debut perfect for reading aloud
Rupert Campbell is fascinated by the witches who live nearby. He dreams of broomstick tours and souvenir potions, but Ruperts mother forbids him from even looking at that part of town. The closest he can get to a witchy experience is sitting in class with his awful teacher Mrs. Frabbleknacker, who smells like bellybutton lint and forbids Ruperts classmates from talking to each other before, during, and after class. So when he sees an ad to become a witchs apprentice, Rupert simply cant resist applying.
But Witchling Two isnt exactly what Rupert expected. With a hankering for lollipops and the magical aptitude of a toad, she needs all the help she can get to pass her exams and become a full-fledged witch. Shes determined to help Rupert stand up to dreadful Mrs. Frabbleknacker too, but the witchling's magic will be as useful as a clump of seaweed unless Rupert can figure out a way to help her improve her spellcastingand fast!
"In this riotous paper-over-board farce, the timid protagonist from Cowell's picture book Hiccup: The Seasick Viking proves himself worthy of the sobriquet 'Hope and Heir to the Tribe of the Hairy Hooligans.' The protagonist is also given author credit (as Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III), with Cowell billed as translator 'from the Old Norse.' Indeed, 'Hiccup' contributes an introductory note: 'I was not the sort of boy who could train a dragon with a mere lifting of an eyebrow. I was not a natural at the Heroism business. I had to work at it. This is the story of becoming a Hero the Hard Way.' From his initial challenge Hiccup and his fellow warriors-in-training must each pluck a dragon from a 'Dragon Nursery' where 3,000 young critters are hibernating the likable lad faces a host of hurdles and beats tremendous odds to emerge triumphant. After selecting a tiny, toothless dragon ('I shall call [my dragon] Fireworm,' says nemesis Snotface Snotlout. 'What are you going to call yours, Hiccup? Sweetums? Sugarlips? Babyface?'). Hiccup tackles the chore of training the stubborn creature, which leads to some fresh, funny dialogue between the two (Hiccup has the rare ability to speak 'Dragonese'). A rollicking finale finds the duo rescuing Vikings from a ravenous, mountain-size dragon. Short chapters, clever slapstick, kid-pleasing character names (e.g., Fishlegs, Dogsbreath the Duhbrain) and goofy, childlike drawings will keep even reluctant readers turning these pages and chuckling as they go. Ages 8-12. (May)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"The hilarious farce will appeal to heroic fiction fans as much as to scaredy-cats, especially since the author extends the nonstop parody with messy black-and-white pencil sketches of the bumbling bedlam." Booklist
"Featuring characters with names like Badbreath the Gruff and Snotface Snotlout, the silly story is accompanied by the author's crudely drawn illustrations." Hornbook Guide to Children
"Kids will hoot at the ridiculous names and sympathize with Hiccup's exasperation with his truly obstinate but strangely lovable dragon." School Library Journal
"[Cowell's] genuinely fierce, intelligent, and scary dragons nearly steal the show, but Hiccup and his diminutive sidekick ultimately come out on top, both displaying a proper hero's mix of quick wit, courage, and loyalty." Kirkus Reviews
*"Fifth-grader Rupert Campbell lives in a world that combines Roald Dahls Witches and Louis Sachars Wayside School....readers will banish themselves from the ordinary world to finish this book in a flash." - Kirkus Reviews, starred review
"Magaziners debut has echoes of Dahls Matilda...The same goofy charm that Magaziner brings to the names of characters and settings (Mrs. Gummyum, Yammerstop Way) carries through to the details of witch life and logic in the town of Gliverstoll, resulting in a fun, frothy story that will, well, charm its readers." - Publishers Weekly
"Mrs. Frabbleknacker is as awful as her name, with antics reminiscent of scenes from Louis Sachars Sideways Stories from Wayside School gone wrong." - School Library Journal
"Ideal for middle-grade readers who love Roald Dahls Matilda (1988) and enjoy humor with their fantasy, this debut novel is madcap and fantastical. Its the perfect thing for kids not quite ready for Diane Duane or Madeleine LEngle." - Booklist
"The kids slowly forming friendship has real grace and authenticity...in addition, Eva Ibbotson fans will appreciate the quirky humor." - BCCB
"This hilarious, light-hearted debut would be a great read-aloud for middle grade classrooms." - Library Media Connection
ADVANCED PRAISE FOR THE UNLIKELY ADVENTURES OF MABEL JONES:
and#8220;From the first few sentences, I knew I was in for a uniquely wild and witty ride. If Lewis Carroll were writing for Monty Python, I imagine it might look something like this.and#8221; and#8212;Christopher Healy, author of the Heroand#8217;s Guide series
"The Unlikely Adventures of Mabel Jones is a speedy, splashy, snort-out-loud lark. Hints of Pinocchio, Peter Pan, and The Hobbit bubble beneath its fast-paced plot, and wordplayand#8212;both visual and textualand#8212;sets a lively tone. Clever and fun.and#8221; and#8212;Jacqueline West, author of the New York Times bestselling series, The Books of Elsewhere
Packed with energetic black-and-white drawings and plenty of action, this book tells the boisterous tale of a young heir to a Viking chiefdom who must hunt down the fiercest dragon in the land, but ends up with the smallest, most ornery dragon.
Meet Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III, heir of the Viking chiefdom, but a boy with one very big problem: a hero he is not. How to Train Your Dragon is the riotous story of Hiccup's quest to hunt down the fiercest dragon, bring it into submission, and hopefully pass his initiation. Instead, he ends up with the smallest, most ornery dragon it's even toothless! Thus begins the hijinx of the world's most lovable, unlikely hero and a most reluctant "beast." Packed with energetic drawings and plenty of action, this boisterous tale is just right for fantasy fans or anyone with a spirit of adventure.
Chronicles the adventures and misadventures of Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III as he tries to pass the important initiation test of his Viking clan, the Tribe of the Hairy Hooligans, by catching and training a dragon.
TELL THE TRUTH:and#160; and#160; Have you ever picked your nose? Have you ever picked your nose and eaten it? Have you ever picked your nose, eaten it, and, doing so, opened a portal to a world run by pirates? and#160; Mabel Jones has. and#160; Mabel is kidnapped and forced to serve aboard The Feroshus Maggot with the strangest crew youand#8217;ll ever meet. And the captainand#151;an odious wolf named Idryss Ebenezer Splitand#151;wonand#8217;t let her go until she helps the pirates unlock the treasure they seek.and#160; and#160; Mabeland#8217;s voyage takes her across The Greasy Pole of Certain Death, into the belly of a whale, and underground to a decrepit crypt. And she does it alland#133;in pajamas! and#160; Read on if you dare. You are promised a most unlikely adventure.
About the Author
Cowell holds a B.A. in graphic design and an M.A. in narrative illustration.