Posts Tagged ‘Harry Potter’

I am pleased to announce Book For Youth’s first official book release. From the author of The Cat That Made Nothing Something Again comes a new and magical journey.

Story overview:
As the son of a great wizard, Traphis doesn’t understand why his mother and father have forbidden him from learning magic. Raised to tend fields, he often dreams of a bigger life–one in which he performs in front of an awe-stricken crowd.

A year after the death of his father, Traphis, now fifteen years old, spies his mother tossing a collection of magic books into a nearby creek. Unbeknownst to her, he is able to rescue them and read their contents hidden within his secret cave.

Opening himself up to the world of magic, a dark presence surfaces–one which has been seeking to track him down for years. Hidden secrets of the past unfold as Traphis joins with other trainees in hopes of learning the skills necessary to survive. The more answers he uncovers the more mysteries arise, sending him down the path of a true wizard, which is far more dangerous than he ever imagined.

My thoughts:
Ever since I can remember, I have loved the Narnia series, which was read to me at a young age. As I grew older, I was surprised at how little Christian Fantasies there were out there; the Christian bookstores had little to nothing of them. It was disappointing to say the least. Traphis, with a subtle/non-preachy Christian angle, targets fans of series like Narnia as well as secular ones like Harry Potter and Eragon (The Inheritance Cycle). It is not meant to compete with them, but to provide a new fantastical world in which youths can follow and come back holding onto messages of faith, hope, forgiveness, and redemption.

Things to consider:
Since this was written to appeal to teens and young adults, there are a few places that may be considered disturbing to younger children. No foul language or sexual situations, but there is action violence–done to enhance the story rather than shock the reader with sensationalism. Nothing inappropriate for the right ages (preteen and older). This should appeal to boys and girls; there are strong characters representing both genders–though the protagonist is a boy.

Opportunities for discussion:
Forgiveness is one of the leading elements in this story. Traphis’ need to forgive God for taking his father away, and his need to forgive his own failures. Skinny Jack learns he needs to forgive his abusive father, and Falin offers grace to his brother who rebelled many years ago. One thing this story also shows is the difference between forgiving and forgetting. Forgiveness is about releasing the power for vengeance and setting it into the hands of God, but one should not forget the past; we can learn from it and grow stronger as a result. Christians are not blind, they just learn to see with different eyes.

Availability:
Traphis: A Wizard’s Tale is currently available on the Kindle and Nook for $2.99 (which is a good price for a 155k word novel). If you don’t have either a Kindle or Nook eReader, don’t worry, you can download the story and read it on your computer, smartphone, or tablet using the free Kindle software.

Purchase the eBook at:
Amazon (Kindle – $2.99)
Barnes & Noble (Nook – $2.99)

What is an eBook? It’s an electronic book format that can be read on digital devices, removing the need for paper. Learn more about the story at: http://awizardstale.com.

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Beedle the BardWithout getting into the huge Rowling discussion, which is popular among many Christians, just remember that this blog provides an “unbiased” Christian perspective on books. If you have not done so already, please read my about section. For now, let’s just stick to the review.

As someone who liked the Harry Potter stories, in 2007, when Rowling had decided to write a book that was mentioned in the Potter books, I was annoyed to discover that only seven copies would be available. If that wasn’t bad enough, they were going to be auctioned off at super high prices. Although the money was to be donated to “The Children’s Voice,” I still wanted to read the tales.

About a year later, this book was finally released to the general public, and the profits were given to “Children’s High Level Group”. This goes to show Rowling’s dedication to helping kids, as well as her willingness to listen to the voice of her fans.

Story overview:

There are five short–fairy tale–stories, which, legend has it, have been read to Wizarding children for many generations. Hermione Granger, a character from the Potter books, has translated these from “ancient runes” with the help of Albus Dumbledore, who wrote a commentary after each story to give a Wizarding perspective to us “Muggles” (non-Wizarding people).

The first story “The Wizard and the Hopping Pot,” tells of an old wizard who leaves his magical brewing pot to his son. Unlike his father, the son doesn’t use it to help others, but as he rejects each person’s cry for help, the pot recreates the symptoms of each person’s aliment until the wizard finally breaks down and decides to help.

The second story “The Fountain of Fair Fortune,” tells of a magical fountain that, once a year, will solve a person’s main problem if they bath in it. Three witches, and a straggling knight, find the pool after facing three challenges. They all learn their answers in a way they didn’t expect.

The third story “The Warlock’s Hairy Heart,” tells of a warlock who removes his heart in order to avoid the foolishness of love. After quite a long time, he decides to marry a woman to silence the people’s talk. Before she concedes, she makes him show her his heart and convinces him to put it back inside himself, at which time the warlock becomes obsessed and ends up killing them both.

The forth story “Babbitty Rabbitty and Her Cackling Stump,” tells the tale of a king, who is so obsessed with magic that he orders the capture of anyone performing it. In his ignorance, he is fooled into being trained by a non-magical user. When worried about being discovered as a fake, the supposed trainer forces an old woman named Babbitty, a true magical user, to perform her talent while hiding. Because of this the king believes that he can use magic himself. However, things go wrong when asked to raise the dead, something magic cannot do.

The fifth story “The Tale of the Three Brothers,” tells the tale of three brothers who try and cheat Death. Death grants them each a wish, but little did they know their wishes contained a curse that would only lead to their demise. However, one of the brothers fools death, with his wish for a cloak of invisibility, until one day when he chooses to pass the cloak down to his son.

My thoughts:

These are great fairy tales and reading them helps to give a little more insight into the world of Harry Potter.  Rowling had drawn the illustrations herself, and they are quite impressive. Each story is fairly short, and as mentioned, each has a commentary by Dumbledore. I found some of these commentaries to be a bit tedious at times, but overall I liked the book.

Things to consider:

Some of the stories, particularly “The Warlock’s Hairy Heart,” may be a bit disturbing for younger children, but overall I think they are fine. In general fairy tales tend to have at least some disturbing element to them, which is what makes them interesting and intriguing to many kids in the first place. I can see the commentaries as being a bit dull for kids who don’t know the original Potter books, and even then, perhaps still, but the tales themselves are good.

Opportunities for discussion:

Each story has a great moral lesson, if not more than one, but some that stick out in my mind are: do for others as you would have them do for you; the things you seek after may not be what you really need; do not let your heart become so decrepit that it ends up being worthless; and, make wise decisions, as foolish ones can have huge consequences. Beyond the moral lessons, this is a good chance to talk to your children about the difference between make-believe and real-world magic. If you would like to know my opinion, read this topical post here.