Author: Jane Yolen
Henry has gone through much of his childhood dreaming of being one thing or another when he grows up, but nothing has particularly lasted. When he mentions maybe being a wizard, however, his mother jumps on the idea in a moment and quickly packs him off to Wizard’s Hall to study. There, Henry (now dubbed Thornmallow) meets new friends, learns a good deal about magic, finds he’s actually not that good at it–and discovers that he is the final student to arrive to make up the 113 required to defeat Wizard’s Hall’s nemesis. However that’s supposed to work.
Wizard’s Hall is a delightful, unassuming little book, much like its main character. At first glance, it’s a simple story of a country boy attending wizarding school, eating “lizard” soup, and missing his dear ma back home. And it is all that. It’s also a brilliantly crafted tale of magic and the rules that govern it. I love that Thornmallow is the sort of person he is–rough, uneducated, simple, and not particularly skilled, yet dedicated, well-meaning, and able to enhance the people around him–you really don’t see many stories about that sort of person, and that sort of story really is a treasure. Plus, Jane Yolen. Need I say more? This seemingly simple tale is actually flooded with brilliant, beautiful, subtle imagery and such. Wizard’s Hall is an excellent read, in spite of–or perhaps because of–not being particularly flashy.