The Book Of Wizard Craft
(In Which The Apprentice Finds Spells, Potions, Fantastic Tales & 50 Enchanting Things To Make)
By Janice Eaton Kilby, Deborah Morgenthal, and Terry Taylor; hobby (2001)
Lark Books, $19.95, ISBN 1-57990-206-5

This isn't a book about spells, Wiccan or otherwise, let's make this clear. It's actually a handicraft and design manual for kiddies and the young-at-heart aspiring to be Harry Potter. If your Harry Toddler wants to learn how to make anything "wizardy" out of normal things, this is the book that will deliver the good times.

I really like the things to make in this book. The ones I actually tried to make are the "Wizard's Apothecary" which is actually a painted egg carton and some of the suggested "wizard treasures" to be stored inside the egg carton (bubble wraps cleverly tweaked into "narwhal breath", plasticine "unicorn horns", and other stuff), the "Wizard Wand" (wire and foam ball decorated and painted), and the "Hourglass Pendant" (hourglass designed into a necklace). I put these into a smaller version of the "Wizard's Trunk" (painted box) and pass them to my seven-year old Harry Toddler nephew. They are cheaper than the usual expensive stuff from Toys-R-Us and I have plenty of fun making them too. Plus I think that Harry Toddler likes the goodies I gave him more than the usual things people give seven year-olds for their birthdays.

The book is divided into several sections. Part 1 instructs readers on how to design a complete wizard regalia from scratch, including the robe, hat, staff, and an assortment of accessories and regalia. Part 2 is about "the decorative arts", where readers learn how to turn that old rug into a magic carpet as well as turn the ordinary household things in the Harry Toddler's room into items of wizardry. Part 3 has the reader having fun in the garden setting up "fairy circles" and "fairy circles" along with terrarium creation and other gardening stuff passed off as "magic". Part 4 is about the mythical animals and familiars, so readers get to make the above mentioned "apothecary" as well as to set up a castle for any toads that live in their garden. Part 5 is about "the book arts", so it's time to turn those old textbooks into "wizard book safe" as well as create quills, invisible inks, black inks, and even scrolls. Part 7 is about "astronomy" so it's time to cover a torch lamp with a paper tattooed with a constellation pattern in order to come up with a magical constellation caster for Harry Toddler to play with. In Part 7, "alchemy", it's time to put the spare baking powder and other household ingredients to good use to impress the Harry Toddler with an assortment of "magical powders" and "potions" that go boom, whizz, and emit plenty of colorful effervescence. And finally, in Part 8, "the art of amusement", it's time to create some exotic magical china and food for Harry Toddler to invite his fellow wizards over and party with.

I really have fun reading as well as making things with this book. Many of the suggestions in this book aren't new but what is fun is how these old craft ideas are given the "wizard" twist. In a way, it reminds me that sometimes the mind is a wonderful gift and if we think long enough, it is easy to find magic in simple everyday matters.

While this book is a pleasant diversion, take note that the instructions aren't the most comprehensible to an average preteen Harry Toddler. The book is beautifully illustrated but they are more ornamental than useful because some of the more complicated instructions don't come with illustrations. Also, the design of clothes and the occasional craft ideas require the use of needles, knives, scissors, advanced measurement instruments such as protractors and calculators, and even boiling hot water, so this is not the book to keep the Harry Toddlers amused while Mom and Dad take the opportunity to enjoy some quiet time. Chances are if Mom and Dad will end up doing most of the work while the Harry Toddler supervises and offers critical suggestions for improvement instead.

Rating: 80

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