Jane and the Magician

Book review by
Patricia Tauzer, Common Sense Media
Jane and the Magician Book Poster Image
Jane, the dragon-riding knight, saves the magic.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

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What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this is one more episode in the Jane and the Dragon adventures that was made into a children's TV show. It helps to read the Jane and the Dragon book first to know how Jane became a "fully qualified, highly trained knight."

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What's the story?

When the court magician goes missing, the knighted Jane and the dragon are called in to find him. Their adventures take them to the countryside where they find more problems than they anticipated. As is typical in a Jane adventure, the young knight bravely faces almost insurmountable difficulties, lessons are learned, and all works out in the end.

Is it any good?

For her insistence on justice alone, kids will relate to Jane as a hero. In the second book of the series, Martin Baynton takes Jane on another knightly adventure, using the same delicate-yet-strong colored-pencil drawings to illustrate the high-minded, tough-spirited energy of this brave girl-knight who is ready to take on the world and its problems. Fun though it may be, this story has an uneven tone and is confusing at times. For example, at one point Baynton uses clever alliteration that sounds like a nursery rhyme ("babies in buckets and pigs in pots"), supposedly showing that the magician has gone mad with his rain-making powers. And why the dragon falls from the sky also takes some explaining. Maybe these parts would make more sense animated in the TV show.

On the other hand, when the magician realizes what he's done and apologizes, Jane's message is very clear: Just saying you're sorry isn't enough. You must also make things right again. In Jane's adventures, everyone learns something, and ultimately a just and happy order is restored.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about anything to do with knights, dragons, magicians, and castles, as well as discussing anger and how it caused the magician to do more harm than good. Do you find fantasy tales with knights, dragons, and magicians appealing, and why? What happens in this story when the magician's anger gets the best of him?

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