Guest Reviewer: Grace, UCF Elementary Education Student
Magyk (Septimus Heap Book One)
Author: Angie Sage
Published March 2nd, 2005 by Bloomsbury Publishing
Summary: The first part of this enthralling new series leads readers on a fantastic journey filled with quirky characters, clever charms, potions and spells, and a yearning to uncover the mystery at the heart of this story…who is Septimus Heap?
The 7th son of the 7th son, aptly named Septimus Heap, is stolen the night he is born by a midwife who pronounces him dead. That same night, the baby’s father, Silas Heap, comes across a bundle in the snow containing a newborn girl with violet eyes. The Heaps take this helpless newborn into their home, name her Jenna, and raise her as their own. But who is this mysterious baby girl, and what really happened to their beloved son, Septimus?
Angie Sage writes in the tradition of great British storytellers. Her inventive fantasy is filled with humor and heart: Magyk will have readers laughing and begging for more.
About the Author: Angie Sage began her career illustrating books, and then started writing – first toddler books, later chapter books and then the masterful Septimus Heap. She lives in a fifteenth-century house in Somerset. She has two grown-up daughters.
Review: Magyk is an interesting fantasy adventure that provides children an alternative to the increasingly controversial Harry Potter series. It has themes of wizardry/magic and adventure and focuses on a small group of young characters that age throughout the series.
Magyk and the rest of the Septimus Heap series promotes gender equality as it has several strong female characters and shows women in positions of power without questioning from other characters. In addition, this book and its series promote friendships between characters not only of different genders but of different backgrounds and races.
This book also has strong themes of found-family as well as other complicated family relationships that can be comforting to children without a more traditional nuclear family structure. One of the main characters, Jenna, has been adopted and struggles with her relationships with her non-adopted siblings. This is explored further in later books in the series when she meets her biological father and learns the identity of her birth mother.
The series associated with Magyk grows with its reader as Septimus, the main character, ages throughout the series. The books introduce increasingly mature themes over time, introducing readers to new ideas as they are ready for them.
Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: This book touches upon the idea of found family. This theme could be implemented in the classroom to help students better understand the importance of relationships between themselves and those around them. Highlighting the importance of the people we surround ourselves with and the aid they can provide is an important lesson to learn as it gives us strength to go about our day.
This book also teaches students to trust themselves and bare more responsibility as time goes by. Throughout the book, the characters discover that true power comes from themselves. It is only by trusting themselves and working hard that can they achieve their goals. This teaches students the importance of a good work ethic and how you have to work in order to achieve your goals. By adding additional responsibilities to characters throughout the book you can see how their wants and needs change over time however, this does not take away from the goals and aspirations they want to achieve.
- Although Jenna is not related to the Heaps by blood she is raised as their daughter. How does Jenna’s relationship with her parents differ from that of her “siblings”?
- Boy 412 and Jenna both have complicated pasts. How does their relationship change throughout the book as they learn more about themselves and each other?
- How does Boy 412 relationships with others vary compared to how other children in the book make relationships?
- How do the circumstances in which Jenna and Boy 412 discover their identities vary? How does this affect how they react to the news?
- Boy 412 was raised in a militaristic environment, how does this shape the person he has become? If he was raised in a different environment do you think his personality would be different?
- How do Marcia, Sarah, Zelda, and Silas treat the children differently? Why do you believe they have such different approaches?
“Oh it’s a pebble… But it’s a really nice pebble Dad thanks.”
Read This If You Love: Books about witches/wizards, Books that age with you
Thank you, Grace, for your review!!