So You Want to Be a Wizard

Common Sense Media says

Blends fantasy, science fiction in equal measures.





What parents need to know

Positive messages

Kit is bullied because of his Spanish accent.


Getting beaten up by bullies, fantasy violence, Kit is injured, a parrot is smacked in the beak. Nita and Kit are stalked by the evil Lone Power and its minions.

Not applicable

A couple of mild swears, one in Spanish.

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that there's some mild, mostly fantasy, violence in this first book in the series. Characters get beat up by bullies and are stalked by evil beings. There's also some swearing.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

Nita, chased by bullies, hides in a library and finds astrange book called So You Want to Be a Wizard. It contains information about the nature and structure of the universe, instruction in the use of magic, and a Wizard's Oath. After taking the Oath, Nita discovers that thecontents of the books change to meet her needs and growing abilities, and that she must undergo an ordeal.

She meets another young wizard-to-be, Kit, and together with an intelligent white hole they accidentally call up, they are transported to a dangerous parallel universe run by the Lone Power, where they must retrieve the Bookof Night with Moon which he has stolen and which is necessary for maintaining the stability of the universe.

Is it any good?


Long before Harry Potter went to Hogwarts, Nita and Kit began their wizard training in this unusual series that blends fantasy and science fiction in equal measures. Rooted both in Judeo-Christian cosmology and a sort of all-encompassing animism, the novel's fascination comes not only from the weird adventures of the protagonists, but also from the magical-scientific details, conveyed in the author's own delightful technobabble.

This entry in the series is also a love song to New York City, and the world of the Lone Power is seen as a twisted version of Manhattan filled with living (and mostly vicious) taxicabs and helicopters. The settings, in and around downtown Manhattan, are vividly realized.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about a lot here, including the religious overtones present in the author's conception of the creation and order of the universe, the idea of intelligence being present in all things, and the importance of language and books.

Book details

Author:Diane Duane
Topics:Magic and fantasy
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Harcourt Brace
Publication date:January 1, 1983
Number of pages:370

This review of So You Want to Be a Wizard was written by

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About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Kid, 12 years old December 29, 2010

Great but a little confusing for younger kids.

It was very good but confusing too. I had to read it 3 times to finally completely get it.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Parent Written byseaturtle28 June 8, 2012

Difficult read, but good!

While the content is appropriate for 9+, this is not an easy read!! More realistic age range is 12+, even for advanced readers. I had trouble (had to re-read a few times) reading this when I was 13, and I have always devoured books!
What other families should know
Great role models
Too much violence
Teen, 14 years old Written bygilly_boy January 7, 2012


The story is a little weird, to me this book doesn't really have much point to it. They pass through the world gate just to get a pen. That doesn't really make sense. She could always buy a new one but she says no that it was an astronuts pen. There really is no point to this, it's good, but it was all for a pen. This is only my thought, read the book and see how you like it.


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