Tuesday, September 3, 2013

This Month There's a "Twofer" for the Kids VIB

Jasper Fforde is among our many favorite authors here at Tattered Cover.  He writes lovely books for the adults, and he's equally great at writing for middle grades.  That's why we've made both installments of his Chronicles of Kazam series as September's Kids VIB.

 Once, I was famous.

In the good old days, magic was powerful, unregulated by government, and even the largest spell could be woven without filling in magic release form B1-7g.

Then the magic started fading away. Powerful wizards who once controlled the weather now did home improvements, plumbing and wiring, drain unblocking and mole charming

I run Kazam, an employment agency for sorcerers. Work is drying up. Drain cleaner is cheaper than a spell, and even magic carpets are now reduced to pizza deliveries.

So it was a surprise when Kevin's visions started. Not only did they predict the death of the Last Dragon by a Dragonslayer, they also suggest that I might have something to do with it.

It was a something that comes one in twenty lifetimes and changes everything for the good - or bad. Something like ... A Big Magic.

The question was, Who was the Dragonslayer? and do they have what it takes to kill the Last Dragon?

In the days that followed my face appeared on tee-shirts, badges, commemorative mugs and posters. I made front page news, appeared on TV and was even a special guest on The Yogi Baird Show.

Two people tried to kill me, I was threatened with jail, had sixteen offers of marriage and was outlawed by King Snodd.

Today you will have not heard of me...

...my name is Jennifer Strange.

Electro-magical devices were once everywhere. They ran the Mobile Phone Network, the radar for air traffic control and even medical scanners and microwaves. When the power of magic faded, they were switched off one by one. The only long-term electromagical devices still functioning as our story begins are yo-yos, the extremely useful compass-pointing-to-North idea and the spell that keep bicycles from falling over.

Things are about to change. As the background Wizidrical Power slowly builds after the Big Magic, King Snodd IV of the Kingdom of Hereford realises that the power of magic has untold financial possibilities, and the man that controls Magic controls almost anything. To this end he has appointed as 'Official Court Sorcerer' the odious Blix at iMagic, one of only two Houses of Enchantment left in the world. With Blix's willing assistance, only one person stands between King Snodd and his plans for power and riches beyond the wildest dreams of avarice.

Meet Jennifer Strange, sixteen-year-old acting manager of Kazam, the only other House of Enchantment. She doesn't care for King Snodd or his plans for magic. Ancient decree dictates that Kazam can refuse Snodd's demands, but Blix challenges Kazam to a contest: The first team to rebuild their half of Hereford's collapsed 12th century bridge gains control of the other's House of Enchantment.

With only one functioning Wizard and her faithful assistant 'Tiger' Prawns, Jennifer must use ever ounce of ingenuity to vanquish Blix and derail King Snodd's plans. It may involve a trip on a magic carpet at the speed of sound to the Troll Wall, it may involve a second Quarkbeast sniffing around town. It might also involve the mysterious Transient Moose, and a powerless sorceress named Once Magnificent Boo.

But one thing is certain: Jennifer Strange will not relinquish the noble powers of magic to big business and commerce without a fight.. 

Every now and then we encounter a new children's book that we’re so excited about we want to shout it from the rooftops, so we've created a Kids' TC VIB (very impressive book) for a real stand-out among the many delightful and meaningful new books for young readers. 

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