First day at new school is a plot well mined by children’s writers, so credit to Priestley who brings a fresh eye to the situation. Joe and family have moved areas, and whereas the promise of new bike, new car and new house had originally thrilled Joe, the reality of new house and new school dawn rather differently in reality. Settling in to the playground takes a decidedly bizarre turn when Billy, the only other new boy on the block, sidles up and whispers: ‘It’s simple enough. I’m a wizard and I’ve been turned into a boy by a witch. What’s the matter with you?’
Author and illustrator Priestley explores sensitively, and with well judged humour, the developing friendship of Joe and Billy, both outsiders and both wanting to belong. Their parents are drawn sympathetically into the action, as is the proverbial school bully who is zapped mysteriously into retreat by Billy’s wizardry. This is a tale of evolving friendship, told with warmth and a style which will certainly draw in eight- and nine-year-old boys, each chapter ending with lines that will ensure the pages keep being turned.