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Wizardology: The Book of the Secrets of Merlin
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
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What's the story?
Merlin reveals the secrets of the wizarding arts in a book he supposedly wrote in 1577 and fashioned from the oak tree that imprisoned him. In text, pictures, fold-outs, mini-books, secret codes, fortune-telling cards, pull-tabs, etc., Merlin explains a host of subjects of interest to aspiring wizards (wands, spells, potions, alchemy, familiars ...), while casting aspersions on apprentices in general -- but surely not the reader in particular.
Is it any good?
This book is attractively crowded with text in various fonts and illustrations, though the movable features are rather wan and fragile. There are numerous references to wizards and witches in literature, including Shakespeare, but unfortunately their origins aren't clearly explained, so only readers already familiar with them will recognize them. For the right child, this could be a treasure. For everyone else it probably will become an attractive dust collector.
There are two types of books in the Ologies series: those, such as Egyptology and Piratology, that have a basis in fact, and those, such as this one and Dragonology, that are pure fantasy. The first type is of interest both to series fans and to those with an interest in the subject. WIZARDOLOGY, though, may interest only wizard fanatics; everyone else probably will find it dry and dull.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about Merlin's low opinion of modern science. What are the similarities and differences between science and magic, as presented here? Why might the practitioners of one have contempt for those of the other? As the author is supposedly Merlin, some readers may be interested in learning more about the Arthurian cycle.