Erin McGuire (Illustrator)
Walden Pond Press
The one thing I love about Anne Ursu’s novels (Breadcrumbs, The Cronus Chronicles) is that they are always filled with breath-taking magic and her newest novel The Real Boy is no different. Based loosely off the fairy tale of Pinocchio, this novel contains charm for both young and old readers to revisit time and time again. Oscar is an eleven year old boy who works for the town’s magician, mixing potions, perfumes and herbs for the city’s most privileged people. Oscar spends his days in the basement of the shop with his pet cats mixing and collecting the herbs and dreaming about the wizards that once walked the land. Although his world is small, he prefers it that way to the sprawling city of Aletheia. Unfortunately for Oscar, as soon as Caleb the magician leaves Oscar in charge of the shop while he goes away on a business trip, the children of the city start to become sick. As the town’s substitute magician, it’s up to Oscar and his new friend Callie to uncover the secret behind the illnesses. Along the way, Oscar will learn about the secret of the wizards, Caleb’s “magic” and reason behind Oscar’s being. Beautifully written, The Real Boy is an enchanting novel that will leaves its readers with the warmth of a fairy tale.