The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, by Tom Skinner & Annie White

Rizwan is apprentice to the sorcerer owner of ‘Wizard Car and Camel Wash’. His job is to do the tidying and other menial tasks, while the sorcerer gets to cast spells and make dirty cars and camels sparkle. When Isabella, daughter to the Mayor comes in to have her car washed, Rizwan is envious. Next day, left to wash the Mayor’s race camels, he decides to cast a little spell of his own. Flush with his success, he tries another spell on the Mayor’s car. Of course this time, things do not go smoothly. In fact they go very bubbly, very bubbly indeed. Illustrations are bright and colourful with multi-hued bubbles floating throughout and in the endpapers. Included is an audio CD with the story read by Antonia Kidman and featuring the music ‘The Sorcerer’s Apprentice’.

The Sorcerers Apprentice is the third title in the Music Box series from New Frontier Publishing. Goethe’s original poem inspired Paul Dukas’ piece of music of the same name. Tom Skinner moves the action to a magical car and camel wash, but the story is the same. An inexperienced sorcerer’s apprentice decides he can complete his chores more quickly with the use of magic. Rizwan also thinks he can attract the attention of a pretty girl. The story and the piece of music are included with the book, and give small children a chance to experience the magic that is music. Recommended for early primary readers.

The Sorcerers Apprentice

The Sorcerers Apprentice Tom Skinner Annie White
New Frontier Publishing 2010
ISBN: 9781921042096

review by Claire Saxby, Children’s Author
This book can be purchased online from Fishpond. Buying through this link supports Aussiereviews.

Round Fish, Square Bowl, by Tom Skinner and Mini Goss

Reviewed by Kathryn Duncan

When this book arrived in the mail, I knew I had a favourite with my children. The “Can you read me this, Mummy,” was an early clue, but the fact that both children wanted it as their bedtime story – over and over again – sealed it. The bright orange fish grabs your attention, and the title, to me, summed up what is probably true for everyone to some degree.

This is one of the most delightful new books I have read to my children in some time. It has encouraged discussion about why mules are stubborn and allowed me to retell the story of the tortoise and the hare. Even young children are able to identify with being slow (yes they get labelled at a young age) or being scared. The story ends beautifully with the mice showing that family and friends bring richness to our life. It is a wonderful book to explain to children that it is okay, and sometimes even wonderful, to be different, and that there are two sides to every story.

Mini Goss’s illustrations brighten the pages with their humour and showing what the words don’t say. Visually, there is a lot to talk about and children will be able to identify with the characters, after all, we all know the story of the 3 little pigs. It is a delight to see more of Mini Goss’s illustrations appearing and they become more pleasing with each new publication.

New Frontier should be congratulated for taking a chance with new author Tom Skinner and Round Fish, Square Bowl. It is such a simple story, and delightfully puts into words the whole concept of being different.

Round Fish, Square Bowl, Mini Goss, (illus.) and Tom Skinner (text),
New Frontier Publishing, 2006
Hardcover, ISBN 978 1 92104 296 6