April 24th, 2010 by Nancy
I’ll be upfront with you: The main character of The Fourth Grade Wizards by Barthe DeClements is not the Harry Potter kind of wizard. Nevertheless, just like Harry, quiet fouth-grader Marianne has also experienced a great tragedy: her mom has passed away. And while she’s missing her mom, Marianne also has to deal with things like mean neighbors, a slow-moving dad, and keeping her grades up.
But don’t fret — Marianne just has to get out of that funk, and realize her mom wouldn’t want her to be sad all the time. With the encouragement of Jack, the class clown who’s always getting into trouble, Marianne starts to turn her life around, first by getting a new half-wolf puppy! And if she gets her grades up, she might even become a school wizard — no magic wand, but special school permissions.
While there isn’t an epic, action-packed wizarding duel at the end of the book, Barthe deClements’ The Fourth Grade Wizards definitely made me pick up her follow-ups, such as Nothing’s Fair in Fifth Grade and Sixth Grade Can Really Kill You. (Whoa, Ms. deClements… Those years were rough, but not that rough… Right?)
I’m recommending this book because it’s so real. (It’s sad to admit to ourselves, but the magical Harry Potter magical world is not, unfortunately.) Marianne is heartbroken, but not just in the “you-didn’t-go-to-the-spring-dance-with-me-heartbroken.” She truly is heartbroken. But after you read The Fourth Grade Wizards, you’ll see how broken hearts can also be mended.
Young Nancy also wanted a half-wolf, and tried to save up money for one. Turns out, $15.27 cannot buy you a half-wolf. Not even a quarter-wolf. More about Nancy »