A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Translated from the French by Karin Snelson, the narrative is packed with vocabulary-building words like "exasperating," "stagnated," "furtively," "nonchalantly," "nostalgia" and "infernal." A magician emerges from a picture of a blackbird captioned "turdus merula," the scientific name of the blackbird.
Keeping magic in the world is important. So is protecting and caring for your loved ones. Also persevering, and finding common ground with your adversaries.
Positive Role Models
Both the Huntress and the girl magician are strong characters -- the Huntress is determined and, along with her pal the Clinker, shows a lot of perseverance on their quest, while the magician just wants to tend her home and garden and protect her (mostly thankless) family. One magician is peevish, selfish, and deceitful; the other is flighty, energetic, and basically well-meaning. A character eats food meant for another, but it all ends well.
Strong girl characters face each other. In their human forms, both the Magicians and the Huntress are pink-skinned; some supporting characters appear Black and Latino. A character named Aisha appears late in the story and is important.
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Violence & Scariness
The Huntress and the Clinker pursue and try to kill the magicians with weapons, sometimes trashing the scene in the process. Characters are killed and reborn. A villain keeps a collection of trapped souls, and tries to murder a character. A character rescues an abandoned baby, only to have the baby grow huge and burst like a balloon. A woman tries to beat a bird to death with a broom, he pinches her nose, chaos ensues. A girl threatens an intruder with poison, wild beasts, and carnivorous plants.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
A character is served tulip wine. Another brews a punch with a powerful wallop, but it comes from magic rather than alcohol. A band is called "Lilly and the Painkillers."
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Magicians is a vivid, engaging illustrated fable by innovative, award-winning French artist and author Blexbolex, with English text translated by Karin Snelson. Layers of color and also of reality often seem to sit uneasily on top of each other in this richly colorful paperback that showcases his fondness for saturated colors, screen-printing techniques, and artistic book-making. The story pits the title characters -- a peevish, thieving elephant, a flighty blackbird, their human forms, and the girl who's trying to care for them -- against the well-armed Huntress and her pal the Clinker (something between a lion and a dragon), who says, "You magicians are all useless and wicked, and you must be vanquished!" Characters are killed and reborn, often in unexpected ways; a villain has a huge stash of magicians' souls and tries to murder a character. Strong messages of the importance of magic in the world, and also of perseverance, caring for your loved ones, and being open to surprises.
Is It Any Good?
Artist/storyteller Blexbolex delivers a wildly immersive visual narrative of an elephant, a blackbird, and a girl who suddenly come to life -- and the fierce duo out to rid the world of them forever. Between the vivid, screen-printed graphics, the intriguing characters and their transformations, and the fast-moving, world-leaping plot, The Magicians offers a wild ride for older kids and adults alike, and rewards repeat visits.
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Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
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Our Editors Recommend
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