Title: The Magician’s Apprentice
Author: Judith Heneghan
Publisher: Holiday House
ATOS Book Level: 5.7
Concepts: Child schooling and work, goods/services, producers/consumers, scarcity, wants/needs
Review: Orphaned at a young age, Jago Stonecipher is left in the care of his uncle, Archibald Callow, a street magician whose only concern is his own well-being. Jago works beside his uncle, learning sleights of hands and other magic tricks. One day a mysterious note lands Jago in the middle of a murder plot. Fearing for his own safety, Callow abandons Jago to the streets, leaving him to pull together all he has learned to survive and to unravel the mystery he has stumbled upon.
This book will open children’s eyes up to a life where a child doesn’t have wants because needs alone are such a struggle to fill. The concepts of work and money are made concrete when the reader sees how desperate Jago is without money and how resourceful he must be just to find a way to eat one meal a day. The book also exemplifies how a child can learn from observation to hone his own skills and talents in order to support himself.
Although the length of this book might seem intimidating to young readers, the short chapters, vibrant characters, fast-paced narrative, and intriguing plot will hold children’s attention for the long haul.
Review by: Rutgers University Project on Economics and Children