Tag Archives: Cressida Cowell

Never and Forever: Wizards of Once #4 – Cressida Cowell

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Hachette Australia

SEP 22, 2020 | 9781444956627 | RRP $19.99

While it’s always sad when something wonderful, like this magical series, comes to an end it’s also exciting when the conclusion is so supremely satisfying. Just as she did with the magnificent How to Train Your Dragon series, Cressida Cowell has combined exciting magic, with dangerous and thrilling adventure and a very healthy dose of laugh-out-loud humour with quirky and loveable characters.

Xar and Wish, those misfits in their respective families and very different worlds, are in the final chapter of their self-appointed mission to rid both Wizards and Warriors of the dreadful and destructive Witches. They must destroy the long-imprisoned Witch King and save their people, the magical creatures and, indeed, the Wildwoods and the world from total annihilation.

They have found the Spell-to-get-rid-of-Witches and now they have to track down the Cup of Second Chances, rescue poor little Squeezjoos as well as navigate the heinous Mine of Happiness, defeat the dread Tatzelwerm, deal with their irate parents, protect their companions, find their way to the Lake of the Lost – and a whole lot more.

How exciting for all the fans of this series that the film option has already been picked up by Dreamworks and given the success of the How toTrain Your Dragon franchise we can all expect this to be transformed as excitingly in their hands.

Of course it’s not just the magic and adventure that makes this such a wonderful read of a series. The themes of loyalty, diversity of characters, overcoming difficulties, resilience and ultimately the acceptance of differences are all very much a part of what makes this series such a stand-out.

If your readers have not yet caught onto this series, my best advice is start talking it up and do at least a ‘First Chapter’ read-aloud to hook them. They will be hungry for more without doubt!

My highest recommendation for another of the current Waterstones’ Children’s Laureate’s amazing creations that will capture the hearts of readers from around Upper Primary upwards.

The Wizards of Once: Knock Three Times: #3 – Cressida Cowell

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9781444941470

Hachette

SEP 24, 2019 | 9781444941470 | RRP $19.99

Not strange at all – looking up and seeing three children clutching a magical flying door high above a forest. Well ok, perhaps a magical door flying is a tiny bit odd but not in a Cressida Cowell fantasy/adventure! Xar, Wish and little Bodkin are escaping their Warrior and Wizard families along with their faithful retinue of assorted sprites, enchanted objects, snowcats, Crusher the giant and of course, Caliburn, the raven who was once the great wizard Pentaglion. However, it’s not just their respective parents and their supporters pursuing them but far worse, the Witches who are hovering above them, unseen but with the worst of intentions.

When Wish’s mother, Warrior Queen Sychorax, sets the forest alight all manner of chaos results. The ragged and tired children are facing the grimmest of narrow escapes until they are unexpectedly rescued by a giant bear. Although the giant bear is not really a bear but is actually Caliburn’s sister whom they are hoping to find and with whom they are hoping to seek shelter.  Perdita and her talking owl advisor  Hoola may not at first appear the best of saviours but the assorted band of refugees are taken into Pook’s Hill, the school for gifted wizards and are able to re-group, as well as contemplate a possible traitor in their midst.

Xar and Wish have a mission. They are determined to find a way to rid their world of Witches – and most especially the Witch-King, who is trapped in an iron ball but always posing a threat. Their sojourn at Pook’s Hill is not lengthy but enough to fortify them and give them both some skills and confidence with which to control their respective magical powers.

In the meantime, Queen Sychorax and Encanzo, Xar’s father and head of the Wizards, must reconcile their past as star-crossed lovers and unite to rescue their children.

It’s complex, fascinating, enchanting and chockers with exciting adventure and creepy characters.  I absolutely adore Cressida’s ability to combine the scary with the humorous, the seriousness with the silliness and of course, her unique illustrations and funky fonts all combine to create a really unique reading experience. No wonder she was chosen as the newest Children’s Laureate UK!

There really is no need to ‘sell’ Cressida’s novels and any readers who have already raced through the first two books in this new series will be leaping to grab this next instalment.

Highly recommended for your readers from around 10 years upwards.

The Wizards of Once – Written & illustrated by Cressida Cowell

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wizards

(wish you could see the coppery accents!)

Hachette

September 2017

ISBN 9781444939576

Following twelve books in the How to Train Your Dragon series, devotees of Cressida Cowell’s distinctive quirky writing and illustrating are bound to be enchanted by this first in a completely new series.

Some of the most exquisite cover art I have ever seen promises a read chockfull of mystery and adventure and it certainly does not disappoint.

Xar is a small Wizard, the youngest son of Encanzo the King Enchanter. He is wilful, disobedient, reckless and often just plain naughty and a great disappointment to his father, especially as his Magic has not yet come in.  Fed up with this situation, Xar takes it upon himself to lead his retinue of assorted creatures and sprites plus his raven counsel Caliburn into the Badwoods (against all the rules) to try out his grand plan of trapping a Witch and stealing it’s magic. Of course, Witches are supposed to be extinct after the long ago wars between Wizards, Warriors and Witches but Xar has found a special feather which he is convinced is of Witch origin.

Coming from the opposite direction, that of the Warrior fort, a small awkward girl rides her pony accompanied by her protesting novice bodyguard, Bodkin. Wish is the youngest daughter of Queen Sychorax, leader of the Warriors and an imperious, dangerous person. Wish is often disobedient, reckless, and wilful – wait a minute – that sounds familiar! And a huge disappointment to her rather scary mother.

The reader will predict that when these two meet in the forest amid mysterious pursuers and strange happenings, that fireworks will occur. They surely do but as the tale goes on, a strange bond of alliance is forged between these two sworn enemies.  Also predictably Witches, it seems, are not extinct but like a lot of Magic, hidden and biding their time.

From start to finish this is a gripping read with Cowell’s usual touches of real humour and absurdity throughout. Darker and edgier than the Dragon books though, there is a real sense of menace throughout.

An audio book is being recorded by David Tennant and movie rights have already been picked up so it’s safe to say this is going to be another winning and highly addictive series from this creative writer/illustrator.

Highly recommended for readers from around ten years upwards – perhaps with the lights on though!

How to Train Your Dragon #12: How to Fight a Dragon’s Fury – Cressida Cowell

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isbn9781444916584

Hachette Australia

Imprint: Hodder Children’s Books

ISBN: 9781444916584

Publication date: Sep 2015

RRP: $19.95

Without doubt the How to Train Your Dragon series has been a runaway success with avid readers from all over the world eagerly anticipating each subsequent instalment. The Dreamworks franchise which produced the movies has only built on the huge popularity of the books.

When I speak of the reader fans, I’m not just talking about children here. For those of us who love dragons, nonsense, crazy characters and absurd humour these books are pure delight.

The latest in the series is How to Fight a Dragon’s Fury and once again Cressida Cowell  has provided us with a saga worthy of the Viking tradition as our intrepid hero Hiccup Horrendous Haddock the Third continues his quest to protect his people and their dragons in the face of the revolting and conniving Alvin the Treacherous.

You will no doubt remember the cliffhanger ending of the last episode when we were all left wondering if Hiccup truly was dead. But we all know that would be impossible – I mean to say, he’s the HERO! Yet his father Stoick the Vast and all his tribe saw him fall from the sky and believe that he is lost to them. Luckily that tenacious little Bog-Burglar Camicazi refuses to accept what would seem to be evidence and knows in her heart that Hiccup is alive and must be found. Not only must he be found he needs to get to the island of Tomorrow and be crowned the King of the Wilderwest. How can this happen when Alvin the Treacherous now holds all King’s Things.

As usual the adventure is full of twists and turns, danger and despair, surprises and secrets and above all, laugh-out-loud humour as we follow the exploits of all the characters we’ve come to know and love – or loathe!

Far be it from me to give away too much of the plot but suffice to say devotees will adore this book and Cressida’s quirky illustrations as much as ever.

Definitely a must for your shelves for adventurous readers from around ten years and up – read an excerpt here

http://www.howtotrainyourdragonbooks.com/_template/pdf/How-to-Fight-a-Dragons-Fury.pdf