Monday, January 25, 2010

Review of The Wizard of Rondo by Emily Rodda

Rodda, Emily. The Wizard of Rondo. Scholastic, 2009.

Having enjoyed The Key to Rondo, I am happy to report that its sequel, The Wizard of Rondo, does not disappoint. Sensible Leo and tempestuous Mimi again wind the key of Leo's magic box more than three times, which allows them to enter the magical, fairy-tale realm of Rondo. Thanks to Leo's winding of the key several times between the two visits, life in Rondo has moved forward - the nasty Blue Witch is looking for them, while Leo's villainous ancestor Spoiler is on the loose. Leo and Mimi instantly get caught up in a quest led by Conker and tough Freda the duck, and they are also joined by Bertha the pig, now famous as a hero.

As with the first book, the fun lies both in the obvious pleasure the author takes in exploring and describing Rondo and in the interplay between the companions, whose personalities are similar only in that they are all opinionated. I'd love to stay in a Snug, which is a fabulous sort of cabin camping in which the cabins are actually organic parts of huge, sentient trees, who take immense pride in being impeccable, soothing hosts. A new character, a quite young and needy cooking pot who becomes emotionally attached to Conker ("Conkie!"), makes its appearance with wonderfully comical results. Mimi and Leo, who are often at odds, finally learn to give each other not just credit but a little respect.

The pacing is rather leisurely in this installment and the danger never seems extreme, giving the reader plenty of time to enjoy the adventure. I'm looking forward to my next visit to Rondo. Recommended for kids grades 4 - 6.

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