The Wizard in the Tree

by Lloyd Alexander

Paperback, 1998



Call number

PB Ale

Call number

PB Ale

Local notes

PB Ale





Puffin (1998), Paperback, 144 pages


Mallory's encounter with the wizard in the tree begins a chain of events that change the lives of the villagers dominated by a suspicious squire.



National Book Award (Finalist — 1982)
Young Hoosier Book Award (Nominee — 1977)

Original publication date


Physical description

144 p.; 7.77 inches

User reviews

LibraryThing member StormRaven
Lloyd Alexander wrote consistently good children's fiction, usually with an element of fantasy. While The Wizard in the Tree is not up to the level of the Chronicles of Prydain, it still holds up as a well-written tale of a hapless wizard losing his powers and the young girl who discovered him.

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story begins when Mallory, a young village girl, discovers Arabicus, a wizard who has been trapped in an oak tree since he broke the rules concerning harming living things. She frees him, and discovers that he was trapped while on his way out of our world into a place where all magical creatures retreated long ago. Soon enough, they discover that Arabicus' magic is fading away and he will die if he doesn't leave.

Unfortunately, Mallory and Arabicus run afoul of the greedy village squire who is trying to industrialize the town and make himself rich. Mallory and Arabicus lurch from silly adventure to silly adventure. The tone is much more light-hearted than the Chronicles of Prydain (the villains don't, for example, burn people alive as they do in The Book of Three) and much more like most young adult adventure fantasy - the problems are those a villager would encounter, the villains are venal rather than vile. The book is fun, but it is not anything more than that.
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LibraryThing member xicanti
A girl discovers a wizard who's been imprisoned in an old tree for centuries.

I'm sure Lloyd Alexander has written a bad book or two, but I've yet to read it. Everything I've read so far has been fun, thoughtful and creative, with tons of appeal for both kids and adults.

This particular book is just
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a tiny little thing, but was it ever enjoyable! It reads something like Dickens Lite; the characters and situations have a definite Dickinsian feel to them, (perhaps because of the setting, with its Squires and shrewish wives), but they're toned down somewhat. The style is definitely that of children's lit, but Alexander gives his young readers full credit as he spins the story. He turns traditional storytelling upside down in some fascinating ways, and he allows his readers to come to their own conclusions about just what's going on.

I highly recommend this, particularly to readers in the 6-8 range. Parents who've read a lot of fairy tales should also enjoy it. And even if you don't, it's such a short little thing that you'll hardly have spent any time on it!

(Longer review available on my blog, Stella Matutina).
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LibraryThing member jchancel
I found this book very entertaining. Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the book is the wizard's perspective on magic, and how it differs so greatly from common human myths about magic. It is frustratingly funny how the wizard's magic fails, and Alexander does a good job of breaking out of the
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stereotypical magical character. Also, the eccentricities of the supporting characters makes the book all the more fun to read with children. This is a great book for introducing fantasy to a budding reader as it contains all the fantastical elements of the genre while being short and fast paced enough to keep up with the shortest of attention spans.
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LibraryThing member jen.e.moore
A rather charming children's story about a kitchen maid who finds a wizard locked up in a tree, a la Merlin, and proceeds to save her village from the villainous new squire. It has lots of Lloyd Alexander's usual position on stories (true in a deep sense, useless in particulars), but there's
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nothing outstanding about it.
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