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Wild Robert
     

Wild Robert

5.0 1
by Diana Wynne Jones, Mark Zug (Illustrator)
 

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Heather's parents are the caretakers of the stately home Castlemaine, and Heather would love living there -- if it weren't for the tourists. Every summer they invade Castlemaine, and one day they even trample into all of her secret quiet spots. The only one left is a peculiar little mound that the villagers say is the grave of Wild Robert, a legendary magician who

Overview

Heather's parents are the caretakers of the stately home Castlemaine, and Heather would love living there -- if it weren't for the tourists. Every summer they invade Castlemaine, and one day they even trample into all of her secret quiet spots. The only one left is a peculiar little mound that the villagers say is the grave of Wild Robert, a legendary magician who lived 350 years ago. When Heather cries out for Wild Robert to use his magical powers on the tourists, she never expects a handsome young man to appear right in front of her. She never expects all the mischief he causes, either! Will Castlemaine ever be the same once Wild Robert has returned?

This novel for young readers is full of Diana Wynne Jones's signature humor, inventiveness, and charm.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publishers Weekly
In its U.S. debut, Wild Robert, a humorous fantasy from Diana Wynne Jones, illus. by Mark Zug, Heather's parents serve as curators at Castlemaine, the stately home where she lives. Trying to escape the tourist crowds, Heather climbs a secluded, peculiar mound reputed to be the grave of a man with magical powers who died 350 years ago. But when she accidentally summons the mischievous Wild Robert from the distant past, things really get out of control. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
This book, geared to children wanting to step up from easy readers, contains new illustrations but text written in 1989. Perhaps that is why the text comes across as slow in some parts. The action takes place at Castlemania where Heather's parents are caretakers. In a twist to provide plot complications, Heather summons up Wild Robert who lived on the grounds some 350 years ago. The idea holds promise. However, Robert is an unlikable character due to the magic he performs, his verbal remarks, and his impudent attitude. He strides around as though the property still belongs to him. His strange magic surfaces with a mere twist of his outstretched hand. The antics appear rude instead of funny as he changes teenage boys into hairy creatures and the girls into maidens encumbered with long dresses wrapped in ivy. To demonstrate his supremacy, Wild Robert changes the gardener into a dog, paintings into feuding people, and tourists into sheep clamoring about the castle halls. In each instance Robert remains snooty. Heather maintains an air of innocence and readers may sympathize with her, but finding any good in Robert is unlikely. In addition, Heather does not solve the "Robert problem" by herself since she is merely given history about Robert from dialogue delivered from her father and friend. From them, Heather knows all returns to normal when the sun sets. Readers receive a hint that Robert may resurface in a sequel but that book, like this one, would best be left unread. 2003 (orig. 1989), Greenwillow Books/HarperCollins Publishers, Ages 7 to 12.
— Nancy Garhan Attebury
School Library Journal - School Library Journal
Gr 2-4-Heather dislikes living in a castle. Her parents are curators who spend all day leading tourists through the place, so her summer is filled with noise and crowds. Her boredom ends when she accidentally summons Wild Robert, who lived at Castlemaine 350 years earlier and was banished underground by his brothers because of his mischievous, magical powers. The handsome but naughty young man announces his intention to claim his inheritance, and woe to those who annoy him; he wields his magic with a liberal hand. Heather's commonsense attempts to keep Robert from wreaking havoc while she figures out what, if anything, to tell her parents are entertaining, as are his imperious comments and wicked sense of humor. The ending offers an anticlimactic and unsatisfying solution to the girl's dilemma, but her ability to recognize and admire the touch of sadness and bravery beneath Robert's hauteur adds a bit of depth to the story. The pencil illustrations are mostly successful, though they lack the wit of the text and sometimes seem lackluster. Light and fun, this fantasy is fine for children who aren't old enough for Jones's more complex fare.-Eva Mitnick, Los Angeles Public Library Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Wild Robert provides the fizz in this outing from master fantasist Jones, the first US edition of a 1989 novella. Heather is significantly put out by living at Castlemaine, the stately home where her mum and dad are curators, and where, every morning, the tourists descend, driving Heather out. When she seeks solitude at the legendary grave of the witch, Wild Robert, she compounds her miseries tenfold by inadvertently summoning him. Charismatic, determined, and thoroughly wicked, in short order he has turned the older tourists into sheep and randy teenagers into satyrs, and has menaced a group of schoolchildren with monstrous frozen treats-but Heather finds the results of Wild Robert's magic more alarming than appealing for all its aptness. The brevity of the story limits the action to one day-the effective period of Wild Robert's magic-but it's a busy one, at the end of which both Heather and the reader will see the pathos behind Wild Robert's frenetic chaos. Minor Jones to be sure, but still entirely intelligent and engaging. (Fiction. 8-12)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780060555306
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
07/31/2003
Edition description:
First Green Willow Edition
Pages:
100
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 8.30(h) x 0.55(d)
Age Range:
7 - 12 Years

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Wild Robert 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Diana Wynne Jones is the best. The story is short, but there is so much action and fun. In simple words the story is well told. I would love for there to be a continuation. I recommend Wild Robert to anyone. I've been wanting to read this book for a long time. I'm glad I finally got it.