The Wizards of Once by Cressida Cowell
  

The Wizards of Once

Written by Cressida Cowell
Part of the The Wizards of Once Series

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A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month May 2018 | Winner of the 2018 Blue Peter Awards - Best Story

Best-selling Cressida Cowell launches her new series with a title that will delight all fans of the How to Train Your Dragon series. Set deep in an enchanting forest, this is a charming story full of Cowell’s trade mark humour and total command of mystery and magic and how it fits seamlessly into everyday life. From two opposing tribes – the Warriors and the Wizards – come two opposing characters, Xar, a young Wizard boy who has no command of magic and will fight anyone he can in order to get it, and Wish, a Warrior girl who is imbued with all kinds of magic that she should never have had access to. Xar and Wish should never meet and never become friends. But they do and together they brave the hidden dungeons in Warrior Fort to uncover a great mystery. ~ Julia Eccleshare

Julia Eccleshare's Picks of the Month for May 2018

Square by Mac Barnett

A Skinful of Shadows by Frances Hardinge

A Perfect Day by Lane Smith

Gaspard the Fox by Zeb Soanes & James Mayhew

Wonder Goal! by Michael Foreman

The Sand Dog by Sarah Lean

The Wizards of Once by Cressida Cowell

Plantopedia by Adrienne Barman

Synopsis

The Wizards of Once by Cressida Cowell

This is the story of a young boy Wizard and a young girl Warrior who have been taught since birth to hate each other like poison; and the thrilling tale of what happens when their two worlds collide. Perfect for boys and girls who love fantasy adventure...

Once there was Magic, and the Magic lived in the dark forests. Until the Warriors came...

Xar is a Wizard boy who has no Magic, and will do anything to get it. Wish is a Warrior girl, but she owns a banned Magical Object, and she will do anything to conceal it. In this whirlwind adventure, Xar and Wish must forget their differences if they're going to make it to the dungeons at Warrior Fort. Where something that has been sleeping for hundreds of years is stirring...

Reviews

The story moves at a cracking pace. Teaching English

A new fantasy world drawing on the background of Ancient Britain. The book is engagingly written with humorous illustrations and sketches adding to the flavour and vividness of the writing. A must of any KS2 reader who likes fast-paced adventure. The English Association

Packed with Cowell's own quirky illustrations and as imaginative, funny and warm-hearted as the Dragon books. The Wrexham Leader

Full of quirky illustrations, it is a pacy read. Cornish Times

The illustrations of Xar, Wish, the magical creatures, notices and maps will be familiar to fans of How to Train Your Dragon but they are darker and have more of a feel of Tinder or A Monster Calls. An enjoyable read for anyone who loves the idea that 'Once there was Magic'. The School Librarian

If your kids adored How to Train Your Dragon, they'll be thrilled by the new The Wizards of Once. Family Traveller

A wildly entertaining and funny adventure. It is a visual treat to snuggle up with or read together with an adult. South Wales Evening Post (Swansea)

This is a spellbinding adventure. It's so brilliantly entertaining, exciting and scary, you'll be desperate to get your hands on the sequel. The Week Junior

The book bristles with rambunctious energy and humour, and feels as if it has been slapped down on the page with glee and mischief. And its characters are irresistible. * The Glasgow Herald *

Funny, thoughtful, lively and suprisingly wise, it is another coup for Cowell. * The Sunday Times Ireland *

Packed with Cowell's own quirkly illustrations, and as imaginative, funny and warm-hearted as the Dragon books, The Wizards of Once is a pacy, exciting read that's sure to herald another hit series. * Gainsborough Echo *

A treat for old fans and newcomers alike. * S Magazine *

Without ever losing the qualities that have made her books so deservedly popular, very gently (and cleverly) Cressida Cowell leads her young readers into something deeper, something richer, something even more magical. In doing so, her contribution to children's literature follows exactly the same path. She is a true hero of current children's fiction. Her books are a gift and children, parents, carers, and teachers should all be deeply grateful for it. * Magic Fiction Since Potter *

Fans of How To Train Your Dragon who have been waiting for Cressida Cowell's new series will not be disappointed. Wizards, warriors, magic and two fab new mini heroes. * Weekly Scoop *

I really enjoyed this book because there were moments of suspense where you could guess what would happen and 9 times out of 10 be shocked by what happened. It was really fun and a good read, I love how it all intertwines and locks. It is a book you get drawn into and can't put down and I can't wait for the next book in the series to come out because it leaves a real cliff hanger of an ending! An incredible read. 5 out of 5 * Primary Times *

Cressida Cowell is a gifted author with a real talent for taking her readers right inside her fantasy worlds. Now we have the start of a great new series, with more to look forward to...The illustrations by the author are an outstanding feature of the book - they really convey the atmosphere and propel the reader into this fantastical world. Totally absorbing. * Parents in Touch *

It's so brilliantly entertaining, exciting and scary, you'll be desperate to get your hands on the sequel. * The Week Junior *

I loved The Wizards of Once. Of course! The new world Cowell has created is just as vivid...There's plenty of magic in Cowell's wild woods and it rises from the pages fresh and clear and with fizzling energy... And it's funny, as you'd expect. Cheerfully funny with daft jokes and slapstick and sharp dialogue... The underlying theme is one of tolerance of difference. She writes with empathy and encourages it in her readers that way. So much better to let kids come to their own conclusions once you've gently pointed them in the right direction. I think this is one reason why Cowell is so popular - there is a trust between author and reader that both feel and respect. * The Book Bag *

The Wizards of Once is... terrific... a rollercoaster of suspense. * The Guardian *

Wizards, warriors, sprites and snow cats in a brilliant new fantasy adventure. * The Bookseller *

bristles with rambunctious energy and humour, and feels as if it has been slapped down on the page with glee and mischief....its characters, Xar the wizard who has no magic, and Wish the warrior princess, who happens to have a magic spoon, are irresistible. Herald Scotland

An exciting and promising start... A fantastical adventure ensues, filled with mythical beasts, cliff-hangers and an epic struggle between good and evil The Scotsman

... it is by turns grim, poignant, philosophical and terrifying, woven through with Cowell's slapstick humour. * The Times Literary Supplement

... sustain a sense of wonder and mayhem from start to finish. Cowell skillfully mixes adventure with silliness in a satisfying story for younger fantasy fans. Publishers Weekly

I am pleased to report that The Wizards of Once...is terrific. It introduces us to a new fantasy world, though its roots again lie deep in a familiar mulch of history and legend. Not the Norse myths this time, but a fantasia of ancient Britain, a land of dark, mysterious forests and powerful magic. What follows is a rollercoaster of suspense and surprise...The book has all the familiar Cowell trademarks. The story never flags, even at moments of calm and reflection, and the writing has humour, grit and depth. She provides her own illustrations, and their scratchy style and scribbled annotations strike the right note. It all adds up to a beautifully designed hardback volume. The Guardian

The detail of Cowell's world is a delight...This one will run and run. The Observer

Cowell's latest work offers a fully realized fantasy world abounding with witches, sprites, killer plants, and talking ravens. Her scrappy teenage protagonists are wonderfully flawed and almost scarily realistic in their bravery, selfishness, and desire to please their parents yet not surrender their individuality. The omniscient narrator's voice is pitch-perfect, sounding appropriately young without ever talking down to the target audience. Readers will fall in love with the imaginative worldbuilding and humorous dialogue and asides....A delightful magical romp. * Kirkus Reviews *

The first volume of a new series by author and illustrator of the How to Train Your Dragon series is an event....Funny, thoughtful and surprisingly wise and lively, this is another coup from Cowell The Sunday Times

World-conquering * The Guardian

About the Author

Cressida Cowell

Cressida Cowell grew up in London and on a small, uninhabited island off the west coast of Scotland. The name of the island is a secret, but it was such a small island it wasn’t really big enough to have a name at all. There were no roads or shops or electricity on the island, just one house and a storm-blown wilderness of sea-birds and heather.

Every year, Cressida’s family spent four weeks of the summer, and two weeks of the spring, on the island. The family had to catch their own fish to eat. The house was lit by candle-light, and there was no telephone or television, so Cressida spent her time drawing and writing stories.

In the evening, Cressida’s father read the children tales of the Vikings, who had invaded this island Archipelago over half a millennium before, of the quarrelsome Tribes who fought and tricked each other, and of legendary dragons who were supposed to live in the caves in the cliffs. This was how Cressida herself first began to write stories about Vikings and dragons, back when she was eight or nine years old. Many years later, she turned her original childhood ideas into the book How to Train Your Dragon, featuring Hiccup the reluctant Viking, and his equally reluctant dragon, Toothless.

When Cressida wasn’t on the island, she was going to school at Marlborough College in Wiltshire where she met and became close friends with Lauren Child, a fellow author/illustrator and the creator of TV’s Charlie and Lola. Cressida and Lauren remain close friends. Indeed Lauren is godmother to Cressida’s daughter Clemmie.

After school, Cressida obtained a BA in English Literature from Oxford University, a BA in Graphic Design from St Martin’s and an MA in Narrative Illustration from Brighton.
Cressida wrote and illustrated her first picture book, Little Bo Peep’s Library Book, for Hodder Children’s Books in 1998. Her first novel for eight to twelve year olds, How to Train Your Dragon, was published to popular and critical acclaim in 2003: ‘The next big thing in children’s literature,’ wrote The Independent on Sunday. ‘Irresistibly funny, exciting and endearing,’ said The Times.

How to Train Your Dragon has now been published in over thirty languages. Film rights were sold to DreamWorks Animation in 2003 for a substantial sum and the filmed version was released into cinemas in March 2010. The 3D animated film from the studio that created Shrek, Madagascar and Kung Fu Panda, was directed by Chris Sanders and Dean DeBlois (the directors of Lilo and Stich) and produced by Bonnie Arnold (who produced Toy Story).

Cressida Cowell is the head judge of the Wicked Young Writers Award and provided these top tips to budding writers:

* My top writing tip would be to read lots, to give you a feel for the way different stories can be told. Also practise writing as much as you can – write, and re-write – don’t worry if you don’t finish a story, as long as you are practising, that’s what matters. Also don’t worry if your stories aren’t very long: I didn’t start out writing books as long as the ones I write now.

* You can still do research when you are creating your own fantasy world. Kids often think that ideas get beamed into an author’s head, or that when you write fantasy you can’t do background reading, but many ideas in The Wizards of Once were sparked by books I read about the history of magic, and magical creatures.

* You can be inspired by your own experiences. Ideas I had about Vikings and dragons during summer holidays when I was 9 years old became 12 books, and a film and TV series. I had a slightly unusual childhood (I spent my summers on an uninhabited Scottish Island), but the world we all live in is full of extraordinary, wonderful idea for stories. You only have to watch an episode of Blue Planet to see that’s true.

* I always begin my stories with a map of my imaginary place. Lots of other authors have done the same – Robert Louis Stevenson drew a map of Treasure Island before starting to write. This is a really easy way of thinking about characters and setting.

* Often kids say to be that they aren’t very good at writing, but I know that’s not true – what they’re struggling with is the mechanics of getting the words onto paper. If you can make up a game in the playground, or you tell your friends stories, you can be an author! Get an adult to write or type for you, if you need to.

* Keep an ideas notebook so you can scribble down ideas and drawings. This doesn’t need to be neat, and no one should be correcting it for spelling, because spelling doesn’t matter. I kept an sketchbook for The Wizards of Once for about 5 years.

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Book Info

Format

Paperback
480 pages

Author

Cressida Cowell
More books by Cressida Cowell

Author's Website

www.cressidacowell.co.uk/

Author's Facebook Latest

Publisher

Hodder Children's Books an imprint of Hachette Children's Group

Publication date

3rd May 2018

ISBN

9781444936728

Categories


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