by Emily Rodda
Scholastic. Australian, Junior. Hardback rrp $29.95
Guest Reviewer Jo Burnell
I don’t like fantasy as a rule. I figure there’s enough drama in everyday life without imagining extra difficulties. Then again, I’d never read anything by Emily Rodda.
From the first Chapter, quirky characters leapt from the page and dragged me with them on the adventure of a lifetime. Emily establishes new characters with ease in a few short lines. These characters are three-dimensional. I have no doubts about what they are likely to do and what would be out of character.
Cooking pot is really a spoilt child that whinges until it is carried everywhere. Flying carpet is full of mischief until put in its place and the owner of the camping shop turns into a bear every night.
Leo and Mimi are able to travel back and forth from the real world to Rondo. Leo’s music box transports them while Mimi’s locket directs where they land. There are mysteries to solve, villains to avoid and heroic quests to complete.
The locket is really a Key when it is in Rondo. It possesses greater powers than the children understand, powers that the evil Blue Queen covets. Leo, Mimi and their friends must be careful not to let the key fall into the Queen’s hands. The last time she got hold of it, the whole of Rondo was plunged into an era of great darkness.
If I had one wish, it would be that I had the paperback version of this book. I’m in danger of a broken nose as the arms weaken from holding the book above my head in bed for too long. I just can’t find a boring spot that lets me put the book down.
The Wizard of Rondo is a perfect pick for anyone in Upper Primary School, but kids of all sizes (including adults) will love it too. The constant sprinkling of the slightly ridiculous throughout keeps a smile on the face despite dangerous predicaments. No wonder it is short-listed for the Speech Pathology Australia Book of the Year Award (Upper Primary).