Book Reviews

Review: The Wizard in the Wood

I’ve been a huge fan of this fun middle grade series since the first book, The Dragon in the Library (my review is here!), and loved the second book, The Monster in the Lake, too (review for that one here!). So today I’m bringing you a review of book three of Kit’s madcap adventures, The Wizard in the Wood!

Book: The Wizard in the Wood by Louie Stowell, illustrated by Davide Ortu

Read before: No

Release date: 14th January 2021

Ownership: Review copy sent free of charge by Nosy Crow Books. All opinions my own.

Kit, a young wizard filled with wild magic, is back, and so are her best friends, smart and loyal Alita and Josh. When wizard-librarian Faith tells them about the new library that’s being set up at their school, they’re super excited to get it set up – and it’ll need a new dragon, a new library wood, and a new wizard to look after it! Of course, things don’t go quite according to plan, but Kit and her friends are more than capable of taking down the evil that threatens the world… right?

As with the previous two books, these are speedy, action-filled reads, and they’re full of humour in both the text and illustrations. You’ll find it hard to stop at just one chapter as Kit and co meet dragons, wizards, and magic both old and new. It’s wonderfully casually diverse, too, which is made very clear in the story and the pictures – I particularly liked that we finally get to meet the Wizard’s Council, the ruling authority for the wizards of Britain, and they aren’t old white men. Saving the world (and loving books and dragons) is a job for everyone, which I love. I also spotted several Buffy references, which add another layer of fun to the series for adult readers! With themes of trust, friendship, and not underestimating yourself, there are great messages wrapped up in this book as well as the high-action plot and dragons.

My favourite thing about this series is that although it really shows off the joy of books, isn’t at all elitist about the enjoyment of said books. Kit really isn’t someone who would enjoy sitting down with a long book, but she loves stories, and the narrative is clear that all forms of stories are valuable! It’s great to see both Kit and Faith, their adult mentor, get excited about a new comic book, in just the same way that bookish Josh gets excited about his more wordy books. Some books about the joy of reading only have characters like Josh, who think the longer a book the better, so I truly, truly love the variety of readers included in this story – I personally was a total Josh as a kid, but I can still see how valuable this would be for any young reader, of any interest level, to see themselves on the page.

If you’ve been eagerly following this series, then I’m happy to let you know that The Wizard in the Wood doesn’t disappoint – and if you’re new to the world of library magic, then I’m excited you get to start at the beginning of the series. They’re just hugely fun, for adults and kids alike – five out of five cats!

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