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Book details of 'Wizzil'

Cover of Wizzil
Author(s)William Steig
PublishedAugust 2000
PublisherFarrar Straus & Giroux (Juv)
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Score: score: 5.0 *****  Vote for this book

The Virtual Bookcase Reviews of 'Wizzil':

Reviewer wrote:
Wizzil the horrible hag is bored stiff until her parrot not-so-sweetly suggests that she amuse herself by making somebody suffer, specifically the Frimps. Taking the bird's advice, she transmogrifies into a common housefly and zizzes over to Frimp Farm. Old DeWitt Frimp, who deplores flies, is armed with a flyswatter and misses the fly-witch by a hair. Wizzil vows revenge. Now, at least no longer bored, she decides to turn herself into a glove and lie in wait for the unwitting DeWitt. Sure enough, he puts it on right away, considering himself a lucky man to have made such a discovery. With the glove on, he soon finds that he can hit everything but flies with his flyswatter. Worse yet, Fred and Florence Frimp begin to experience "unbearable itches in unexpected places." When meatballs begin to explode, DeWitt finally realizes that the rash of bad luck started with the glove, and he throws it in the river. How could he have known that the glove would transform into the hideous Wizzil as soon as it hit the water? Or that Wizzil, unused to water, would start to sink? DeWitt, a good soul, jumps right in to rescue her, even though she is quite nasty. But what's this? Her nastiness washes downstream, and Wizzil is left a sweet old lady in his arms. "Needless to say, Wizzil and DeWitt fell completely in love, and wound up an old married couple who stayed together on the farm." And Wizzil was never bored stiff again. (Though the parrot found her new life with humans a bit humdrum.) William Steig--New Yorker cartoonist and creator of numerous picture books, including the Caldecott Medalist Sylvester and the Magic Pebble --is up to his usual tricks in this quirky story. Made-up words like "zizzes," odd colloquial expressions, and goofy plot twists add up to not only unmitigated delight but a complete lack of condescension in his writing for young readers. British illustrator Quentin Blake's scratchy, fluid, comical pictures--loaded with as many knee-slapping details as the story--are the perfect accompaniment to Steig's silly, romantic tale of the power of love to vaporize boredom and mean-spiritedness. (Ages 4 to 8)

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