“THE WIZARD OF DARK STREET,” by Shawn Thomas Odyssey, Egmont, July 26, 2011, $16.99 (ages 9-12)
If you ever have the chance to explore the streets of New York City, keep your eyes peeled. If you happen to be at the right place at the right time, you may be lucky enough to come across Dark Street. But if you do by chance come across it, you must be quick, for a minute later; it will be as if it was never there.
If you do happen to enter the gate to Dark Street, you’re in for a treat — and maybe some tricks — as you enter a world of magic.
Miss Oona Crate resides with her uncle, the Wizard of Dark Street, in Pendulum House. Oona has the rare gift of natural magic and has been serving as her uncle’s apprentice, but she’s about to give that position up.
Despite her innate skills, Oona would rather be a detective than a wizard. Colored by a tragic incident a few years ago, Oona can’t find the logic in magic. Deducing how crimes occurred by practiced observation and common sense seems much more practical.
Oona is set to sign away her rights as apprentice, and suitable replacement candidates have been found. But during the ceremony, the Wizard is attacked. Magic is at the center of the crime, and if Oona wants to saver her uncle, she’s going to have to delve deeper into the world she wants to leave behind.
Charming is the best word to describe “The Wizard of Dark Street.” The main characters are just what you’d hope — quirky and multifaceted. Readers will root for Oona as she goes down her list of suspicious characters. And despite the book’s dark material — an attempted murder — its tone is light.
Author Shawn Thomas Odyssey has captured the essence of mystery writers of old while maintaining his own voice, making “The Wizard of Dark Street” captivating for readers of all ages.
One of the best middle-reader books of the year so far, “The Wizard of Dark Street” is unique, entertaining and beautifully organized. It’s a mystery Odyssey can be proud of and one that readers will want to share time and time again.
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