The Last of the Wizards
Rona Jaffe ~ illustrations by Erik Blegvad
Simon & Schuster, 1961
A gift to my unborn son from his godparents, The Last of the Wizards finally answers the question... If someone granted you three wishes, why would you not wish for more wishes?I've only recently started reading my son this tale of a wizard, a boy, a trip to the moon and dozens of wishes, and am not sure why I waiting so long. It is in one word ~ marvelous.A long, long time ago, when children's nurses remembered stories of dragons, and brave princes rode about the forest on their horses looking for beautiful princesses who were locked up in enchanted castles, everybody knew about wizards. But that was a long, long time ago, before anybody who is now living was even born, even the oldest, oldest person you know.Penned by the famous novelist and illustrated by the king of my favorite genre in children's book illustration (that is, guys who draw things small... not to be mistaken with people who draw small things), it has since been (why, why, why?) reprinted with a different illustrator. Not knocking the new illustrator, it's just when the original is so great, why mess with it?I imagine at the time it was published it was a rather modern tale. Wizards are practically extinct and princesses go to "school to learn how to read and play tennis and be a queen." Now, the story is dated enough that it still takes us back to another time when it seemed enchanting things really did occur right in our own bedrooms.
I don't want to spoil the fun by giving away too much, but if you are a parent to a child and you hope to instill in them a sense of wonder and magical things, do yourself a favor and find out how the story ends. It is delightfully unresolved and might spark a mountain of imagination for those of us who still believe.
Mud Pies and Other Recipes
A Year is a Window
The Diamond in the Window
Plenty of Fish
Read along on Facebook, Twitter and Etsy!