Tales From a Second Hand Wand Shoppe by Robert P. Wills

Author’s etsy (where you can buy a wand to go along with your book), no video book trailer found.

Summary: (from Amazon.com) They were the Best of Gnomes, They were the Worse of Gnomes.
Two Gnomes – Grimbledung and Drimblerod- are just trying to get along in life when their worlds collide. Drimblerod runs a moderately reputable Second Hand Wand Shop that does pretty well at moving inventory. Grimbledung runs a disreputable Second Hand Wand Wagon that he moves regularly to avoid the authorities.
Everything changes when they combine their talents:
City ordinances are broken. Neighbors are annoyed. The Constable becomes involved. Even the Magician’s Guild sends over some Enforcers to deal with them. Things are looking up for the Gnomes!
From multi-headed travelers looking for a good time, to Half-Orcs just trying to obey their mates, everyone seems to come to the Second Hand Wand Shoppe to either buy or sell a wand. Along for the ride are a neurotic Jousting Dummy, an immortal (so far) Rat, a Trolless who runs the Tavern and Restaurant across the street, a Dwarf next door with (alleged) Mob ties, and the Head Mistress of the local School of Magic (with definite Mob ties).
Did we mention the Halfling Army that’s out for blood? They’ll have to deal with them as well!

The author has done very well in mastering the way to communicate the tone of each character’s personality through the written word! I had a few good chuckles, especially from Rat. Even the unspoken “body” language of Dummy is perfect. If you child is good at “hearing” the tone while reading, then this will work. If not, then use it as a read-aloud so you both can enjoy it while teaching the skill! The illustrations are good enough for the kids – as an adult, I wanted more texture (maybe an occasional color-plate like in Breathed’s Flawed Dogs).

Cautions? Yes, the gnomes drink beer and have a hangover. Yes, Dimblerod has a thing for big females… Because it’s so much fun, I want to recommend it to all ages, but the humor is kind of like watching the movie Shrek – much of it is for the adults. Even if the kids don’t get it, they still enjoyed it, right?

Items to display with book: Wands, wands, wands. Any kind of gnome figurine or halloween mask. Stuffed rat (or a real one, if you’ve got it.) You could make some Gatherer Division patches and/or an Abyssmal box.

Food items connected to story: Tea, Toast & jam, stew, eggs, grits, there’s so much served at Big Julie’s school you can use too.


The Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett (Discworld, book 2)

This one was recommended by the Cakewrecks blog lady. I don’t think it will catch on in middle school, but maybe the wry-witted advanced readers might give it a try. I found it cute, and the little Scottish creatures are adorable, though a student would be hard-pressed to figure out the accent/dialect. I haven’t read book 1 in this series, but it didn’t make a difference. Grades 7 and up.

Author’s website

The Beloved Dearly by Doug Cooney

Date reviewed: 10/18/04                         Grades 4-7            IL 8-12

Author’s website

Personal Reaction: I think this is a great story, though I’m wondering if kids will “get” the whole mafia tone of Ernie. Somehow the vocabulary or sarcastic tone seems to fit an adult rather than these elementary aged characters. I never really thought that Swimming Pool was the “best” employee, rather I thought it was Dusty! Enjoyable and recommended to 6th, maybe some 7th graders. Be prepared to deal with religious questions about whether pets go to heaven or those kids who may be offended in either the burial of an animal (as family) or even the sacrilege of the proceedings.

Points for discussion with children or topics for study:  Pets, death, burial rites, solemnity; artistic effort; fair treatment of employees, business

Connections to other books? Cover illustration by Tony DiTerlizzi may inspire kids to read his The Spiderwick Chronicles, very short mystery series; maybe The Blessing of the Animals by Rosen (which concentrates more on religion rather than the pets’ part in it); reminds me more of  I’m Going to Be Famous! By Birdseye

Realia: headstone for pet or stuffed animal in coffin (is that going too far?); dog biscuits; handkerchief; cell phone; monopoly money; shovel; photograph of pet cemetery?; decorated shoebox coffin; small stuffed dog with windup clock in sleeping box

Food items connected to story: take-out (pizza, fried chicken) or frozen dinners; cheeseburgers; peanut butter

By moviesofthemind Posted in humor Tagged , , ,