Leitmeritz is a powerful wizard who uses his Red Book of Spells to help everyone― everyone, that is, except his assistant, Chancery. Chancery is not handsome. In fact, most people simply call him the Ugly. But one day while the wizard is away, the Ugly tries to cast a spell on himself . . . and gets disastrously funny results. Fanciful collage illustrations set the stage for a tale of sorcery, dragons, and some very unusual magical solutions.
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Pablo Bernasconi grew up in Patagonia, surrounded by lakes and mountains and snow and forest. He lived and worked in Buenos Aires for many years, but now lives in Rio Negro, Argentina, where he illustrates and design books, newspapers, and magazines. His work has won several awards for its originality, humor, and unusual view of life.From School Library Journal:
Grade 1-4–Up seventeen thousand, two hundred and nine stairs lives Leitmeritz, a wizard who can grant people their innermost wishes by using the spells in his Red Book. He has often warned his assistant, a square-headed, blue fellow with mismatched eyes and a strange jaw, not to touch the book, for Wizardry concerns wizards, and that's only me. But when Leitmeritz leaves the castle to help a unicorn in distress, Chancery opens the book and asks it to make him handsome. Letters and images fly out, and although he painstakingly replaces them before his master's return, disaster ensues. Suddenly, none of the spells work, and when a cure for sore feet causes a foot to sprout from the king's head, the wizard faces the ruler's wrath. Chancery finally confesses the truth, and Leitmeritz tells him that he can only set things right by making himself handsome without using magic. Bernasconi's collage illustrations are superimposed on letter cutouts and patterns, and the playful images that border the text invite close scrutiny. The sorcerer is a rotund, carrot-nosed individual with patched clothing, white curly whiskers right down to his fancy high-heeled shoes, and a pointy hat. Chancery's surprise resolution is a commentary on the true nature of beauty, and his behavior is reminiscent of that other bungling magician's assistant, Tomie dePaola's Big Anthony.–Marianne Saccardi, formerly at Norwalk Community College, CT
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