3 out of 4 stars
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The Wizard of Tut Tut Bun: Children's Fantasy by John McCarrick is a whimsical tale that takes place in and near the village of Tut Tut Bun. Each chapter is a story of adventure in a never-ending battle of good and evil. The stories follow the children who live in Tut Tut Bun and their friend, Billy Bottom. Billy Bottom is a wizard who lives in the nearby woods. He is friends with the children, trees, and animals and they work together to confront the threats and challenges that face those living in and around the village. Billy always has a plan to save the day when those who would take the village resources and threaten their happy way of life.
The design and color scheme of the cover has a mysterious feel. Billy Bottom is dressed in wizard garb and appears to be standing at the edge of a bank of purple clouds. He is absorbed by what he sees in a glowing orb he is holding with both hands. There are stacks of books and bottles that are illuminated by the glow. It shows that Billy Bottom is a wise and learned wizard who is able to see things we do not. This rings true in the stories as he makes action plans that he doesn’t fully explain, but the other characters follow Billy and do the tasks he sets for them. He is a great leader of the team and fosters cooperation.
The world that McCarrick has created feels big and is full of fantastical creatures. Each chapter has an action-driven story that involves teamwork and problem-solving. The children and Billy cooperate to save the valley from the evil outsiders who would take their resources and solve complex problems. They face threats, but they also have fun and solve problems that are less dire. For example, they bring the seashore to a friend who can’t get to it by himself.
The Wizard of Tut Tut Bun: Children's Fantasy is intended for young readers, and I think it is best suited to that audience. The stories sometimes felt a little bit redundant, and I think the book would benefit from an editor or additional structure. The stories have ample opportunities for illustrations, and I found myself wanting to see small drawings of the creatures such as the Pink Gulls and the Munga instead of the same wand and star combination that was repeated for each chapter.
I rate this book 3 out of 4 stars. There were some minor typographical issues, but the book had a quick pace and lots of action. The various creatures were unique, and each brought a particular set of challenges for the characters to overcome. Because the chapters can stand on their own, this book could be read in part or in its entirety, and each would be satisfying.
The Wizard of Tut Tut Bun
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