A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Relevant social-emotional lessons about setting boundaries and saying no when it's necessary. Helping is about building one's self esteem, not furthering others' ambitions.
Don't worry too much about what other people think. Celebrate people in your community who support the community's greatest good. Don't waste your time striving for perfectionism. Love is a gift that is freely given, it is never forced. Saying no can be hard, but it's an important skill to have. Say sorry. Community communicates. Tell the truth. Being diplomatic can mend bridges. True friends are the ones who support who you really are. You can decide to not be mad about stuff. Family and friends should support what people believe themselves to be. Helping people should better one's self esteem.
Positive Role Models
Gumluck is a humble wizard who tries to help others, but his efforts are taken for granted. His friend, Helvetica the raven, is a truth-telling narrator of the story who doesn't suffer fools. They meet a ghost named Butterscotch whom they help to find a place to belong. The Truth Fairy visits to tell people the truth about themselves, though they aren't always a welcome visitor. Characters exhibit teamwork and the desire to grow.
The majority of human characters appear White, though there is a Black woman who is a butcher.
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Violence & Scariness
Mild peril includes being in a dark woods where there are ghosts. A castle threatens to fall on the townspeople -- but does not.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Story of Gumluck the Wizard: Book One by veteran author-illustrator Adam Rex contains a friendly ghost who joins Gumluck and his friend Helvetica the Raven in their quest to do good things for their town. Gumluck learns to say no to people who are taking advantage of him, while making choices about teamwork, integrity, and his participation in the community. Gumluck enters a haunted forest, but there are only hints of scary stuff. Some discussion about what it's like being dead. Peril includes a falling castle that threatens to crush the townspeople, but does not.
Is It Any Good?
A magical tale that's got great voice, this illustrated story will enchant young readers who want excitement without a ton of peril. The Story of Gumluck the Wizard: Book One is a carefully crafted moral tale by veteran illustrator Adam Rex (On Account of the Gum). It deals with the complex issue of truth, asking when is truth good to hear, and when does it hurt? Some funny moments brighten the pages, as provided by the wisecracking raven, who makes up in opinion what she might lack in magic. Younger siblings can enjoy this story, too, since the wizarding world of Gumluck isn't very scary at all.
Did we miss something on diversity?
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.