Sunday, August 13, 2006

The Magician's Boy by Susan Cooper

The Magician’s Boy by Susan Cooper. Illustrated by Serena Riglietti

The Boy wanted, more than anything in the world, to learn magic, but his master the Magician always said “Not yet, Boy. Not till the time is right. Not yet.” So the Boy polished the Magician’s magic wands, weeded the garden where the magic herbs grew, fed the white rabbits that the Magician pulled out of his hat, and during performances, helped the Magician perform the story of “Saint George and the Dragon.” His job was to pull the puppet strings while the Magician told the story. One fateful night, as the Magician called for each character to make his “appearance” one the puppet theatre stage, he called for “Saint George”—but St. George was nowhere to be found.

The Boy was terrified. He stepped out from behind the theatre and stood there shaking. “I’m sorry, Master,” he said in a very small voice, “Saint George seems to be missing.” The children all booed loudly. The Magician looked odwn with yes so angry that the Boy was afraid he would turn him into a rabbit. The Magician’s tall figure seemed to grow and grow, towering over the Boy, and he pointed a long finger at him. “Then you must find him!” he hissed. The finger came very close, with its long sharp nail. “You will go where you must go, through all the Land of Story, until you find Saint George!” He swung his arm so that his long dark-blue sleeve swung past the Boy‘s face, and the Boy saw gold moons and stars flash by, and felt himself falling, falling. . . .”

In his journey through the Land of Story, he meets the living and breathing puppets from the play; the old woman who lived in a boot (although he’d always thought it was supposed to be a shoe); the Pied Piper, Pinocchio; Jack, the Giant and the Giant’s wife, and, among others, a talking signpost that tells him “Only a child can find the way to bring Saint George back to the play.” Does the Boy find the way? Does he bring St. George back? To find out, you have join the Boy in the Land of Story—read The Magician’s Boy by Susan Cooper.

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