The Wicked Wizard and the Worms

Judith M. Ackerman
Illustrator: Stefan Nikolic
The Storyteller Books (2020)
ISBN: 9780998043913
Reviewed by Evan C. (age 7) for Reader Views Kids

“The Wicked Wizard and the Worms” is about a wizard who is mean and ungrateful. He is jealous of the good he sees and decided to get rid of it all. No more colors, or beautiful trees.  The pictures were full of color and joy. Then the Wizard decides to get rid of all of it. You’ll see how the pages go from colorful, to gray and dark and blue. There is no more sunshine or smiles. The wizard turns the townspeople, including the Royal family into worms. He is happy they are worms but then becomes sad because there is nothing to watch after a while. The worms would crawl around and then one day they were all gone. He noticed leaves on the trees and that was it. He cried and his tears watered the dead trees and plants. One day he noticed something moving in the trees. He was excited because it was something different than staring at nothing. The leaves moved and jiggled and eventually opened with a blast of color and joy. The worms were not worms, they were caterpillars that were in cocoons. The page has so much color because there are butterflies everywhere. It fills the whole page! The wizard is so happy to see life and see joy. He began to dance around. The wizard realized that being different was okay and it was okay to be happy.

He realized he wanted to be a better person so he turned the beautiful butterflies back into the townspeople. He changed the castle and made it look less wicked, and the people were so happy they realized he was not a bad wizard. They gave him a second because they saw the change, he wasn’t wicked anymore.  He was good and kind. So, the townspeople asked him to stay and help create a beautiful garden.

Mother’s note: At first when reading this I was a little hesitant because the wizard thought of himself as ugly and wanted everything to be ugly. I heard ugly and thought okay it is not about looks, is it? Time and time again children read books that comment on looking different and saying how different is ugly. Looking and being different is not a bad thing and I can’t stress this point enough. When we started this review the first thing I was going to touch on was looks. We sat down and I asked him what he thought of the book, ready to respond with my being different is not bad). His response? “It is a great book to see how being nice to someone can change the world” and I thought…thank you. Thank you for seeing that. Thank you for seeing that what matters most is what your heart feels. This made me rethink the entire story. Everyone wants to be included and feel important. When they don’t, sometimes they react in unkind ways and this can begin a cycle of bullying, but really what happens after? Once the bully realizes they are wrong? Are we quick to shut the door on them? Or do we open our doors and offer to help them thrive? Clearly, I was ready to close the door, my son, willing to open the door for the opportunity to change.  I guess you can say I learned a lot not only from this story, but I also got a glimpse of the person my son is going to grow up to be. Thank you, Judith.

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