Silver searched until he found a big area of muddy muck. There must be a toad in here somewhere, he thought as he oozed his way into the mudflat. He wished that he’d worn waterproof pants and gumboots. But seeing as he was wearing a long cloak instead – as all sorcerers do – he felt himself getting heavier and heavier as his cloak got muddier and muddier. Before he knew it, he was stuck.
He wiggled this way. He wiggled that way. But every time he moved he just seemed to get more and more bogged down in the mud. It began to get dark as the sun set over the mudflats. Silver started to panic.
He was going to be stuck forever. But then he remembered. He was a sorcerer. All he needed to do was make a spell.
Silver is not a very skilled sorcerer, in fact very little of his magic works out as he planned. In a family of skilled magic-makers, this makes him feel even worse. His younger sister, Star, is already ahead of him at Spell School. And if he doesn’t pass his Eggs (basic spell) test this time, his father has threatened to send him off to be a circus magician – the ultimate indignity for a boy who wants to be like his hero, Merlin. Silver does fail his Eggs, and he with his snake Slither are duly dispatched to work at the circus. Despite – in fact because of – his magic-going-wrong talents, he becomes very successful and revives the fortunes of the ailing circus. But though he craved success, Silver is not entirely happy with how he’s achieved it. And there’s still the matter of the failed Eggs test … Colour illustrations are dispersed throughout the story.
Some families have high expectations for their children, and Silver’s family fits into that. Silver’s parents are both skilled, and even his younger sister is better at magic than he is. He tries to be like them, but somehow it doesn’t work. Lemon-Scott uses humour to suggest that each of us must find our own path to success, even if it diverges from that of our family. Left to his own devices, Silver does find skills to make him famous, before acknowledging that there are other things in life beyond fame. Like being with family. Being yourself, whatever that may mean. Silver the Silly Sorcerer is a new offering in the Little Rockets series from New Frontier Publishing. Recommended for newly confident readers.
Silver, the Silly Sorcerer, Candice Lemon-Scott ill Janet Wolf
New Frontier Publishing 2013
review by Claire Saxby, Children’s Author
Available from good bookstores or online.