Grindley's (A New Room for William) version of the disobedient apprentice's story adds a warm and fuzzy conclusion. British artist Taylor's friendly, animated artwork also maintains an optimistic tone, as the wide-eyed boy toils day after day for the long-bearded wizard. Throughout, the artwork shows the boy and an affectionate cat amidst the clutter of the sorcerer's laboratory, including equipment embellished with gargoyle heads and secret symbols. Even as things spin out of control when the boy tries his hand at magic, the sherbet-colored spreads retain a reassuring mood. When the wizard returns to discover the havoc caused by the boy and his overeager broomstick, the man reacts sternly, but with restraint. " `I trusted you,' " he says, and then, when the little apprentice apologizes, the man puts his arm around the boy's shoulders: " `Perhaps I have held you back for too long.... I will give you one chance, but be sure you reach out and grab it with both hands.' " The wizard gives the boy a wand and the young fellow is last seen stirring a cauldron with a wild-eyed look. But readers remain in the dark as to whether or not the boy feels any consequence to his irresponsible actions. Ages 4-8. (May) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
K-Gr 3-This classic cautionary tale of the imprudent apprentice has had many incarnations, from its origins in ancient Greece to its inclusion in Disney's Fantasia. The most recent picture-book versions have been revisionist, with Nancy Willard's (Scholastic, 1993) sewing machine run amok, and Ted Dewan's (Doubleday, 1998) rampant robots. Grindley sticks with a traditional telling. Her prose is clear and flows logically and smoothly. It is, however, sparse on imagery. Taylor's cartoon illustrations, while colorful and competently executed, do little to extend or amplify the text. The biggest problem is the depiction of the apprentice himself; he has the same facial expression page after page. When Grindley says, "The sorcerer looked at his apprentice and saw the eagerness in his eyes," readers will not share in the experience. Also, the lad frequently becomes lost on some of the overly busy pages. This is an appropriate choice for libraries in which the story is not represented, but otherwise it's an additional purchase.- Grace Oliff, Ann Blanche Smith School, Hillsdale, NJ Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Grindley (Where Are My Chicks?, 2002, etc.) retells the classic tale with only a slight nod to the familiar Disney version and little of the special magic of Nancy Willard with Leo and Diane Dillon, who made the apprentice a young woman. In a spooky stone castle surrounded by padlocked gates lives a seldom-seen sorcerer and his young apprentice. The boy wants nothing more than to follow in the older man's footsteps and he obediently does everything asked of him. But gradually, his patience wears thin while waiting for the master to teach him, so he takes matters into his own hands. The broom, the water, the multiplying brooms, the overflowing water, it's all there. But the upshot is that this sorcerer realizes he should give the apprentice a chance. This Harry Potter for the toddler set will delight young readers with its abundance of full-bleed illustrations of things mysterious and magical. And unlike the Disney sorcerer, this wizard is the kindly grandfather type, with a full white beard and gentle green eyes. Taylor's characters are filled with life, and their faces are wonderfully expressive, while his castle is a place the curious would love to explore. Just right for aspiring young magicians. (Picture book. 4-8)