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The Wicked Wizard and the Worms

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A magical story about redemption, self-improvement and rebirth, which will make your children learn and dream at the same time!

Synopsis

Can a little worm teach a mean old wicked wizard a valuable lesson in life?
Discover the answer in this adventurous story of a very unhappy mean wizard, and the effects of his wicked spells!

The Wicked Wizard and the Worms is a beautiful story which will teach your children important lessons about redemption, forgiveness and empathy. Perhaps most importantly, it teaches how to move on and manage to be reborn from one’s ashes after having made a terrible mistake, proving that there is always the chance to improve and fix the wrongdoings one commits throughout the course of life (whether voluntarily or not). This is a tale will indeed instil in the readers the desire to better themselves and open their hearts to the others, and this is carried out by exploiting the conventions of fairy-tale-like morale and magical characters, such as the main character, a (not so much after all) Wicked Wizard.  


In a world inhabited by powerful wizards, beautiful princesses and magnanimous kings and queens, everything is not so perfect as it may seem on the surface: evil forces are lurking on the background, and soon they take over, causing destruction and the utter ruin of these kind inhabitants, which end up transforming into hideous worms. However, hate only generates more hate and more misery, and even the most wicked of them all eventually realizes that being evil and acting irresponsibly is not so fun after all, and that the support and the solidarity of the people who surround us are necessary to live peacefully and happily in harmony with the universe. Fame, power, money, the things the Wizard thought he desired the most, end up drying his heart endlessly once he attains them after having seized them by force, and thus he is left feeling even more lonely and miserable than before. In fact, by depriving the world of all this beauty, he ends up robbing himself, through his own fault, of anything beautiful at all: he then witnesses the concrete proof of what he has done, of the misery surrounding him everywhere he turns, and that is the moment he realizes what a terrible mistake he has made, and how much evil he has caused. Thankfully, the happily ever after comes along, and everything goes back to place as the Wicked Wizard is wicked no more, but instead, he learns a valuable lesson about material and spiritual richness, and that it is never too late to rectify even the most catastrophic mistake, for there is always a window of redemption in life even for those who may seem undeserving. 


Using the conventions of the fairy-tale genre, such as the motif of metamorphosis and the rebirth of nature with its celebration of spring as an allegory of youthful and vibrant beauty, the story teaches self-improvement and empathy towards the others, so that in the end even the Wicked Wizard becomes loved and a friend of the inhabitants he had previously caused so much suffering upon. In fact, they forgive him, hence providing an excellent example of virtue and strength of spirit in the face of any destructive feeling of revenge or an eye for an eye, and precisely because of their kindness and forgiveness the wizard is able to become a new, better person, filled with the love of his friends and rich in his heart rather than in material things. This morale explicitly shines through the narration and it constitutes a valuable lesson for children (and adults!) who would learn all of this through the pleasant filter of the fairy-tale framework, with its marvellous castles and magical worms providing good entertainment for the children.


The layout is worth of praise too, as it is extremely neat and very effective, with the text on one page and the illustrations on the side, a feature that works very well visually speaking and accompanies the reading experience pleasantly. The language is rather rich in vocabulary and elaborate, so I would recommend this book to older children in order to deepen their understanding of grammar and the English language. There aren’t really rhymes or child-like figures of speech, the syntax is eloquent and not banal or simplistic, there is wide and solid use of different terminologies which makes the narration more ‘mature’ than one would expect, considering the fantastical plot! Likewise, the illustrations are fine and extremely detailed, the characters have definite shapes and the figures are neither soft nor infantilised, thus mirroring the kind of language employed and embodying its ‘maturity’ rather well. Unfortunately, I have noticed that if one zooms on the illustrations they appear very grainy and in certain pages one can even see the broken pencil lines of the drawings as if they were not erased at all or the drawings were left uncompleted, and their colours can be a bit patchy and badly outlined as well, however I hope this is something which will easily be fixed in post-production or digitally.


Overall, Judith M. Ackerman never disappoints, I have had the pleasure to review another one of her books (Grandmother’s Tinbox) and it presents just the same amount of wisdom and meaningful themes of this one. My favourite thing about her books, in fact, and indeed about this one, is that they are meant to be children stories, however they present deep existential themes at the same time: this stimulates the reader to reflect and wonder about why things happen and how they happen, therefore making the plot ever so complex and ethically interesting. For this reason, I would recommend The Wicked Wizard and the Worms to older children who are curious and enjoy reading about profound themes, although inscribed in a very approachable, dreamy context such as the fairy-tale one of this work.

Reviewed by

I am in the senior sophister year of my BA in English Literature and Classics, writing a thesis on John Keats’ poetry and 19th-century Victorian literature. I majored in English and I am specialized in reviewing children's books and classics. Tips for my work are greatly appreciated!

Synopsis

Can a little worm teach a mean old wicked wizard a valuable lesson in life?
Discover the answer in this adventurous story of a very unhappy mean wizard, and the effects of his wicked spells!

About the author

Judith was born in Atlantic City, N.J. She became an award winning designer and artist and when she became ill with Lupus, she discovered her love of writing children's stories. "The Fishermen and the Mermaids" was her debut book and Do You Think She's a Witch is a children's and teacher's favorite view profile

Published on September 30, 2020

0-1000 words

Genre: Children's Picture Books

Reviewed by

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