The Computer Wizard
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This issue’s cover is from J K Rowling's Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, the third book in what is already a classic new series. The first two titles were Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. Thanks to Bloomsbury Children’s Books for their help. Cover image based on original artwork by Cliff Wright
Penned by a former children’s TV scriptwriter The Computer Wizard is a sedentary one idea book that simply lacks magic. Wanting to spell ‘initiative’, young Michael gets as far as typing ‘SPELLINIT’ on his dad’s computer. But rather than using a spell checker, Michael has unwittingly accessed a magic spell and is miniaturised then drawn into the computer. Spell: in it. With me so far?
The back cover note explains that, ‘the trouble is nobody can think of a way to get him out again until the tricky Computer Wizard steps in.’ The real trouble, however, is that the title character fails to step in until the reader has trudged through three-quarters of the story.
The characterization of the family members is handled reasonably well but it is just not enough to maintain the interest. There are no illustrations to assist in engaging the young reader other than the same repeated one at the beginning of each chapter.