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Wizard's Hall Hardcover – June, 1991

54 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Henry is a small fellow, thin as a reed, without much talent for magic. But he tries. He really, really tries. And, as it turns out, that's the most important thing. Upon entering Wizard's Hall, the school for young wizards in training, Henry is promptly given a new name: Thornmallow--prickly on the outside, squishy within. And although his curses tend to "splatter or dribble around the edges," and he's not quite mastered his changes or spells, and he simply cannot chant on the dominant, Thornmallow is bound and determined to do the best he can. As the 113th student to arrive at Wizard's Hall, he quickly learns that he has a mysterious extra burden of responsibility that no one will explain. The horrifying secret? The future of Wizard's Hall depends on him, regardless of his magical bumbling.

Prolific, award-winning author Jane Yolen has a delightfully witty and dynamic way with words. This touching, funny, and exciting tale reminds maladroit magicians and mortals alike of the wisdom of an old adage: If at first you don't succeed, try, try again. Yolen's other magical adventures include Passager and The Dragon's Boy. (Ages 8 to 12) --Emilie Coulter --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

From Publishers Weekly

The instant Henry casually "mentions wizardry to his dear ma," she packs him off to Wizard's Hall, with little more than a change of clothes and the advice that, whatever he might encounter, "it only matters that you try." Once at Wizard's Hall, Henry discovers that his magical talents are at best limited, but that even so, he must fulfill an ancient prophecy and help overthrow a powerful, evil wizard. Although he wants to give up, Henry--now dubbed Thornmallow--perseveres and tries his hardest. Wizard's Hall has it all: fairy tale wonder, baffling mystery, captivating magic, edge-of-the-seat suspense, wry humor and a well-taught moral. This captivating package is neatly tied up by the marvelous bow of Yolen's ( Owl Moon ; Dove Isabeau ) masterful prose, with a few lilting verses thrown in. Ages 8-12.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 and up
  • Hardcover: 133 pages
  • Publisher: Harcourt Childrens Books (J); 1st edition (June 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0152981322
  • ISBN-13: 978-0152981327
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 5.5 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,684,169 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Born and raised in New York City, Jane Yolen now lives in Hatfield, Massachusetts. She attended Smith College and received her master's degree in education from the University of Massachusetts. The distinguished author of more than 170 books, Jane Yolen is a person of many talents. When she is not writing, Yolen composes songs, is a professional storyteller on the stage, and is the busy wife of a university professor, the mother of three grown children, and a grandmother. Active in several organizations, Yolen has been on the Board of Directors of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, was president of the Science Fiction Writers of America from 1986 to 1988, is on the editorial board of several magazines, and was a founding member of the Western New England Storytellers Guild, the Western Massachusetts Illustrators Guild, and the Bay State Writers Guild. For twenty years, she ran a monthly writer's workshop for new children's book authors. In 1980, when Yolen was awarded an honorary Doctor of Law degree by Our Lady of the Elms College in Chicopee, Massachusetts, the citation recognized that "throughout her writing career she has remained true to her primary source of inspiration--folk culture." Folklore is the "perfect second skin," writes Yolen. "From under its hide, we can see all the shimmering, shadowy uncertainties of the world." Folklore, she believes, is the universal human language, a language that children instinctively feel in their hearts. All of Yolen's stories and poems are somehow rooted in her sense of family and self. The Emperor and the Kite, which was a Caldecott Honor Book in 1983 for its intricate papercut illustrations by Ed Young, was based on Yolen's relationship with her late father, who was an international kite-flying champion. Owl Moon, winner of the 1988 Caldecott Medal for John Schoenherr's exquisite watercolors, was inspired by her husband's interest in birding. Yolen's graceful rhythms and outrageous rhymes have been gathered in numerous collections. She has earned many awards over the years: the Regina Medal, the Kerlan Award, the World Fantasy Award, the Society of Children's Book Writers Award, the Mythopoetic Society's Aslan Award, the Christopher Medal, the Boy's Club Jr. Book Award, the Garden State Children's Book Award, the Daedalus Award, a number of Parents' Choice Magazine Awards, and many more. Her books and stories have been translated into Japanese, French, Spanish, Chinese, German, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Afrikaans, !Xhosa, Portuguese, and Braille. With a versatility that has led her to be called "America's Hans Christian Andersen," Yolen, the child of two writers, is a gifted and natural storyteller. Perhaps the best explanation for her outstanding accomplishments comes from Jane Yolen herself: "I don't care whether the story is real or fantastical. I tell the story that needs to be told."

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

74 of 78 people found the following review helpful By Stephen Richmond VINE VOICE on November 5, 1999
Format: Paperback
Jane Yolen has written many charming and evocative tales of wonder over the years and now with all the well-deserved fuss over J.K. Rowling and her Harry Potters, fans young and old of the genre will love Yolen's 1991 effort, WIZARD'S HALL. In many ways similar to the Potters, this short, very quick read with Yolen's usual well-defined and entirely likeable characters and fast-paced,not overly complex plot, and typical wit and humor are as ever, right on target. Thornmallow, his friends, and enemies are all cut from the same rich fabric as the other grand mages of literature from Merlin to ubiquitous Potter. A great break between or after the Rowling books, without disappointment. Aimed at preteens (but as usual with Yolen, with some more advanced vocabulary thrown in --- the reading teacher in me just has to love an author to actually tries to expand vocabulary while endlessly entertaining her audience), this should not be overlooked by older mavens of humourous fantasy. (There's also some ethics education going on here, but Yolen is never pedantic, so, sh! don't tell anybody!)
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By penny on April 27, 2000
Format: Paperback
This story is about an 11-year-old boy, Henry, whose mother sends him to wizard camp. Overall he is not a very good wizard but he tries very hard to become a good wizard. All the kids at Wizard's Hall give him the nickname Thornmallow-prickly on the outside and squishy on the inside. However, Henry does seem to make many friends. As it turns out, he is special because he is the 113th student to enroll in Wizard's Hall. Being the 113th makes him important because it is now his responsibility to save Wizard's Hall from the evil "magister" and his monster dragon. Special Note For teachers: This is a very good book to show students how trying hard does pay off in the end. I think most students will enjoy reading Wizard's Hall because it has a lot of imagery and the whole magical aspect of it is good at holding a child's attention. Also at 133 pages it is a quick read. On A Personal Note: I really enjoyed reading the book. It will be on the bookshelf in my classroom
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40 of 51 people found the following review helpful By EA Solinas HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on July 21, 2000
Format: Paperback
One of the most magical books I've ever read! Though not as well-known or as generally well-liked as Harry Potter, I believe this book is superior. Its prose and descriptions are lyrical and beautiful, and the hero is endearingly insecure.
Henry is sent to "Wizard's Hall" by his mother, to become a wizard. Renamed "Thornmallow" (prickly on the outside, squishy inside), he soon makes a name for himself--he swamps a classroom in snow, inadvertantly yells during an orientation speech, and so on. But he soon discovers that he is one of 113 students, who are there to defeat the evil wizard Nettle and his enormous Beast. But Thornmallow doesn't think he can do it.
This is a shorter but much more INTENSE book than most wizardly tales. Its shortness is made up for by the sheer magic of Wizard's Hall--moving pictures, lizards swimming in the soup (which can be changed by older students), and the constellation ceiling that talks!
I love Thornmallow, he's so HUMAN. Who among us hasn't completely embarrassed themselves in front of a room of people? Or botched up something over and over? I also love his friends Gorse and Tansy (yeah, everyone has plant names) and the teachers. Not to mention Doctor Mo (PRICELESS! Simply priceless)
Read the book! You will NOT be disappointed...
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30 of 39 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 1, 2000
Format: Paperback
I read Wizard's Hall four years ago, and have been searching for it ever since. I loved the evil Nettle, the adorable Thornmallow, and the shrunken wizard in its cage (I can't remember its name at the moment). This book operated on my level, and I connected. Upon reading the Harry Potter books, I was reminded of the flavor of Wizard's Hall, but it still wasn't right. I would never spend four years searching for the Harry Potter books, but Yolen writes with a special sparkle that makes this book well worth it. Bravo to Yolen, she writes right!
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Kris on April 29, 2001
Format: Paperback
This is very hard to do, but I will tell you about Wizard's Hall now WITHOUT comparing it to Harry Potter (*gasp*). This book is very short, but the story is well-developed for the time span of the book. If the characters, especially the Magisters, are a little under-developed, that is because the main character, Henry, hasn't had much time to get to know them anyway. Very soon after finding himself in the famous Wizard's Hall, an interesting, bizarre school for young people wanting to become wizards (or witches), our main character finds out about a plot for the ruin of the Hall, kept secret by the teachers. Only he, blundering and seemingly un-magical, can save the school. To calm himself, Henry always remembers things that his Mama told him, or thought about his cow--the only two things in his life before he went to school. The meaning of his school-name, Thornmallow, is repeated a little too often (prickly on the outside, squishy within) but by the end you see why. Heartwarming, simple, and enjoyable, but, like all Yolen's books (eg: Dragon Blood, etc) ends almost TOO early, and leaves you unsatisfied! Not necesarily a bad thing...
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 9, 1999
Format: Hardcover
This book is a little like the Harry Potter books but not as long. It is interesting, exciting, fun, and a little creepy. As the 113th student enrolled in the Wizard's Hall young Henry (also called Thornmallow) has to defeat a magical patchwork beast and it's master. Will he be able to do it? It is a VERY good book, take my word for it!
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