Monday, August 1, 2011

Children's Book Review, The Sorcerer's Apprentice

Children's Book Review by Susan Stephenson,

Children's Book Review
New Frontier Publishing (Australia) has a delightful series of books with accompanying CDs based on famous classical compositions. I've previously reviewed Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy and Flight of the Bumblebee. I very much like the idea of introducing children to classical music wrapped inside a story package.

Today I'd like to tell you about The Sorcerer's Apprentice, written by Tom Skinner, illustrated by Annie White and published by New Frontier (2010). This children's picture book is based on The Sorcerer's Apprentice by Paul Dukas, a much-loved piece of music. Children may recognise it from Walt Disney's film, Fantasia. I know I can't hear it without visualising Mickey Mouse prancing around with a magic wand! But Skinner brings us his own interpretation.

Rizwan is a fumbling apprentice determined to prove to his master that he is ready to become a fully fledged sorcerer. Things are not as easy as they seem. Rizwan gets himself into a bit of a sticky situation.

There is something for everyone in this story; mops, buckets, magic, a sorcerer, a beautiful girl and a slightly naive apprentice.

Kids will very much relate to Rizwan not wanting to tidy away his mess:
Cart this, cart that.
Egyptian cat, black hat.
I'm Rizwan the Great, Rizwan the Brave,
not some uppity sorcerer's slave.
And maybe parents and teachers will relate to the exasperated sorcerer!

I love how both author and illustrator have woven fantasy into this tale, but also added modern day elements like the Car and Camel Wash. There's humour too in plays on words and the colourful, detailed illustrations.

Antonia Kidman does a great job of narrating for the CD, where kids can also listen to excerpts from Dukas' music woven naturally into the narrative. I really like the way the CD is safely ensconced inside the book's cover - helpful for parents and kids who'd like more organisation in heir home than Rizwan! Kidman's voice brings the characters to life, and she also reads an end page that tells a little of the background of the original poem and piece of music.

Check out The Sorcerer's Apprentice trailer below or on Youtube.

Find more Children's Book Reviews on The Book Chook via the Reviews button in my right side bar.


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