Day of the Wizards
Adele Ashby was the former editor of Canadian Materials for Schools and Libraries.
Day of the Wizards is Jenny Williams’s second title in the Jeanpac series; the first was a mystery, The Ghost of Pirate Walk (1982). Here he ventures into fantasy, using a device as old as Aladdin’s lamp. Bob and Shirley’s dad finds an old candlestick; when the children polish it, the adventure begins. They meet Sylvester, a sparrow who can talk, and two wizards, Zolan, who represents the forces of good, and Ugma, his adversary. Ugma had used the magic candlestick to control all the birds and beasts until a brave prince made the candlestick disappear, using Zolan’s wand. He then hid the wand; in revenge, Ugma turned all the people into birds who had voices but no memory, including the prince, who could no longer remember who he was or where the wand was. Ugma learns that the children possess the candlestick, and the chase is on. There is a fire, capture by a band of monkeys, a helpful whale, a deep abyss that must be crossed, and the discovery that the power of the candlestick can break the spell everyone is under. When everything is restored to its normal state, the children return home to learn that their unemployed father has a new job and they have a new house in which to live and their financial problems are at an end.
Day of the Wizards is far from being great fantasy, but it is attractively packaged in the uniform Jeanpac design, which does appeal to children.