Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Wizard's Holiday

Wizard's Holiday

Diane Duane
Fiction  Series
For ages 12 and up
Harcourt, 2003   ISBN: 978-0152052072

Dairine Callahan is in trouble – again. This time she has signed herself and her sister up for an exchange program without asking her father for permission. It is true that an exchange program does not sound all that bad, on the face of things, but in Dairine's case she has signed up for a wizardly exchange program which not only means that she and her sister Nita would be going to an alien world, but that aliens would be coming to stay at their home.

The local high ranking wizard, Tom, decides that, as punishment, Dairine will be grounded. She won't be going anywhere for a while. It is also decided by Tom and Dairine's father, that Nita should go on this exchange program. She needs a change of scene and Kit, Nita's friend and partner in wizardry, should go with her.

And so Nita, Kit, and Kit's dog Ponch make the long journey to the planet of Alaalu. The young people's hosts are enormously kind and generous and Kit and Nita feel as if they have landed in paradise. And yet, as they days pass, Nita cannot help feeling that something is missing.

Back on Earth three alien wizards arrive in the Callahan's back yard. Sker'et looks like an enormous centipede and he is not only very likeable but he also can fix any machine he gets his claws on. Filif looks like a large Christmas tree which is covered with red berries. He is gentle and wise and everyone grows very fond of him. The third visitor is Roshaun who is human looking and extremely unpleasant to be around. Arrogant, proud, and unfriendly, Roshaun quickly alienates everyone in the Callahan house.

Dairine does her best to keep her guests happy though it is not easy for her because she would love to do something most unpleasant to Roshaun. It is only when something goes terribly wrong that Dairine really begins to understand who Roshaun is and what he is like underneath.

As is so often the case with Dairine, Kit, and Nita, what seems like a chance turn of events out to be something which was planned and organized by the Powers That Be. Kit and Nita are sent to Alaalu for a reason and the three aliens are similarly brought to Earth for a reason. It is up to Kit and Nita and Dairine to try to figure out what is needed of them and to do what is required.

With great skill Diane Duane takes these three young wizards on a fascinating pair of adventures, adventures which teach them, and by association us, something new and meaningful. The new characters that we encounter are delightful and Dairine's experiences as a host to three alien wizards are funny and, at times, touching.

This is the seventh book in the Young Wizards series and it one of the most engaging and accessible of the stories yet written about Dairine, Kit, and Nita.