________________ CM . . . . Volume XV Number 8 . . . . December 5, 2008

cover A Wizard in Love.

Mireille Levert. Illustrated by Marie Lafrance.
Toronto, ON: Tundra Books, 2009.
32 pp., hardcover, $19.99.
ISBN 978-0-88776-901-6.

Kindergarten-grade 4 / Ages 5-9.

Review by Gregory Bryan.

*** /4

Reviewed from Final Pages.


In the middle of the living room was a beautiful woman with a lovely smile, singing as she played the piano. “How hateful!” Hector growled. “This must be stopped.”

Hector is a dark wizard who lives with his black cat, Poison. Hector, who delights in his gloomy and sombre surrounds, is alienated from the company and contact of others. When a neighbour moves into an abandoned house across the road, she shatters Hector’s (delightfully) bleak existence, filling the air with music and singing.

     Mireille Levert and Marie Lafrance’s A Wizard in Love demonstrates the power of love and of music to brighten lives. While the premise is a little too simple—the change to Hector’s heart is not adequately justified—the story is sweet in its simplicity, and repeated readings will see young children cheering for the roughish, but loveable, Hector, and the (supposedly) beautiful new neighbour, Isobel.

     Originally published in 2007 under the French title, Le Sorcier Amoureux, the English translation will appeal to young readers and to parents looking for a fun story that engenders faint echoes of distant, traditional fairy tales, yet is unquestionably contemporary and refreshing. It is an interesting mix, and the “feel” of the book seems “just right.” Both my five- and my nine-year-old daughters enjoyed the story. My five-year-old even generously agreed with the text description of the new neighbour as beautiful, although my own tastes are a little different.

internal art

     A feature of the illustrations is the interesting, predominant, use of primary and secondary colours and of black and white. The colour choices add appeal to the book and help establish the “odd couple” nature of the protagonists’ eventual union. Note, for instance, Hector’s black cat and Isobel’s white one. Similarly, note the black bats and birds that follow Hector, and the snow-white pet birds that occupy Isobel’s house.

    A Wizard in Love is an enjoyable, charming story. Isobel and Hector are two characters worthy of a resounding cheer.


Gregory Bryan lives in Winnipeg. MB. He teaches literacy education and children’s literature classes in the Faculty of Education at the University of Manitoba.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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