September 2, 2006

So You Want to Be a Wizard

Posted in Children's Literature, Fantasy at 6:55 pm by j128

So You Want to Be a Wizard

So You Want to Be a Wizard

So You Want to Be a Wizard, by American author Diane Duane, was written in 1982 and published in the next year. It is the first book in the Young Wizard series.


The protagonist, Juanita Callahan, or Nita, is a thirteen-year-old girl and is constantly bullied and beaten up, in and out of school by Joanne’s gang. The reason why Nita is bullied and beaten up is because she can’t always supress from talking back and keeping quiet.

The first time we see Nita, she is being chased by Joanne’s gang and takes refuge in the library. The librarian, Mrs. Lesser, takes care of the bullies. Meanwhile downstairs in the children’s library Nita discovers a book she had never seen before. Its title says: So You Want to Be a Wizard. Nita had thought she had read every single book in the children’s library and she wonders how this one had escaped her eye.

Nita takes it home and comes back with the book, a black eye, and a few other injuries from being beaten up.

While Nita recuperates she reads as much as she can and before she falls asleep takes the Wizard’s Oath. Next morning she sees her name in the list of wizards.

When Nita had been beaten up, Joanne had nicked Nita’s space pen that her uncle gave her. The space pen can write on anything. Nita realizes this and goes to a quiet place to make a retrieval spell for her pen and there she meets another wizard, Christopher “Kit” Rodriguez, who is a year younger than her. They tie both spells together and are taken to Manhattan, but it is a different Manhattan.

A huge, ominous shape is coming there way and the two children make a spell to gain energy, and the result is a white hole from space, which, is simply put, Fred. Fred’s name when translated into English is Khairelikoblepharehglukumeilichephredeidosd’enagouni.

Next day Nita and Kit go to school earlier than usual and wait for Joanne. Fred helps them get Nita’s pen back, though, unfortunately he swallowed it and the consequence is that he begins emitting various objects that includes a new widescreen colour TV, a learjet, and a blue Mercedes Benz, etc. To fix the problem, Nita and Kit go somewhere they never dared before: Old Crazy Swale’s house. It is the local Advisories’ house and they are Tom and Carl. Fred’s problem is fixed and Tom and Carl tell the young wizards and Fred about the bright book also known as Book of Night with Moon and the bright book’s opposite: the dark book also known as Book Which Is Not Named. Nita is told that they can retrieve her pen by using a World Gate.

On the weekend Kit and Nita travel to Manhattan to go to the World Gate and get Nita’s space pen. The problem is, though, the World Gate has been moved due to reconstruction and they have to walk up to the top of a building in order to reach the World Gate.

Perytons, wolf-like creatures, come along while Nita is doing the spell and something you are never to do is to break off during a spell. Upon seeing the perytons, Nita does this exactly: break the spell and then the children are whirled into a dark world, which is reminiscent of Manhattan. It is Manhattan, but something has gone terribly wrong.

This Manhattan is wrought with hate and darkness. There are no human beings or animals. Vehicles are twisted and are killer-machines, even an innocent-looking fire hydrant, which sucks up a pigeon with a long stick tongue. It is here that Nita and Kit must retrieve the bright book and the book of darkness. But they must be careful, because there is danger lurking at every corner.


Visit the website for book descriptions in the Young Wizard series and the Feline Wizardry sequence.

For series description and other related topics in the Young Wizard series read the article on Young Wizards.


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