Harry Moon #1: Wand Paper Scissors – Mark Andrew Poe

I’m conflicted about this book. I like the idea of living in a town where it’s perpetually Halloween. I’d previously read another book in this series, Harry’s Christmas Carol, and quite enjoyed that so I had fairly high hopes for this, the first book in the series.

Harry is performing his magic show at his school’s annual Scary Talent Show but Titus, school bully and the evil mayor’s son, has other ideas. Titus is desperate to win and is prepared to do whatever it takes to make Harry withdraw from the show. Add to that a strange mix of magic and Christianity, a talking rabbit and some questionable content.

Quite a few things had me scratching my head including:

  • Why this quote was included in the first place and how it made it through the editing process. Hao was the newbie when he moved to town in the third grade. “Are you black or Asian or Indian or what?” asked Bailey when Hao came into the third grade classroom.
  • When Harry gets told he needs to rise above name calling after telling his parents about the school bully accosting him on his way home from a rehearsal, lifting him into the air and cutting off some of his hair with sheep shears.
  • I’m not sure what 16 year old girl is going to be excited about being a magician’s assistant for a 13 year old boy she used to babysit at his middle school talent show. I’m also not sure how I feel about them kissing.
  • There are multiple obvious Harry Potter parallels, the most obvious of which is the whole wizard in training called Harry thing. Harry also manages to walk past people undetected because he was able to make his cape and anything under it invisible.
  • It’s mentioned that Harry is aware of another boy being physically abused by his father, which is then passed over with Harry thinking about how lucky he is that his father doesn’t hit him. Meanwhile this other kid is wandering around with welts.

Despite my problems with this book I quite liked the illustrations. My favourite was the row of pumpkins, with the one on the end winking.

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Thank you to NetGalley and Diamond Book Distributors for the opportunity to read this book.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

Once Upon a Blurb

Harry Moon is up to his eyeballs in magic in the small town of Sleepy Hollow. His archenemy, Titus Kligore, has eyes on winning the Annual Scary Talent Show. Harry has a tough job ahead if he is going to steal the crown. He takes a chance on a magical rabbit who introduces him to magic. Harry decides that the best way forward is to DO NO EVIL and the struggle to defeat Titus, this battle turns epic. 

Harry Moon: Harry’s Christmas Carol – Mark Andrew Poe

Don’t be afraid of the dark.

It’s Christmas time in Sleepy Hollow, or ‘Spooky Town’ as evil mayor Maximus Kligore turned the town into when it became a Halloween tourist attraction year round. Now, I’m all for year round Halloween festivities (Bah humbug!) but Harry Moon is on a mission to light up the pervading darkness of the town.

Harry’s magic teacher and friend, Samson, has been attacked by the mayor and his evil hordes’ Fouling Curse, and it’s up to Harry and his Good Mischief Team to battle evil toys and the powers of darkness to save Samson – along with the town’s Christmas spirit. Along the way Harry makes a new friend, learning not to judge someone by their outward appearance.

I loved the inventiveness of the anti-Christmas carols that the evil mayor pumps through the town’s airwaves, and replacing chapter with verse was a simple yet appropriate nod to the carols, anti and otherwise, that featured in the book. My favourite descriptions related to the colours of Lady Dra Dra’s wigs, which at one point was puke-lemon.

The illustrations were a great blend of Christmas and Halloween, with the images at the beginning of each chapter foreshadowing an event to come. I find the expressions on the character’s faces in the illustrations for this series are particularly wonderful, especially the evil grin on the mayor’s face in this book.

I’m not quite sure why Jesus couldn’t just be called Jesus. It is a Christmas book after all and while He is referred to as the Great Magician, in keeping with the magical aspects throughout the series, it irked me. There are sections where the Bible is either quoted or paraphrased during the book but at no time are these attributed as such. I did think that the Mr B.L. Zebub character’s name was clever though.

I expects children will love reading about the different varieties of jellybeans described – blue Penguin Poop, purple Reindeer Poop, and for when the purple inevitably sells out there’s the standby red and green swirled Elf Poop! The Halloween fans will also appreciate the town’s festive decorations – green dragon tails forming garlands and light posts wrapped with white bandages mixed with fake blood to imitate candy canes.

Favourite sentence:

“For the Great Magician and his deep magic can best be seen in the selfless love between one to another.”

Thank you so much to NetGalley and Diamond Book Distributors for the opportunity to read this book.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Once Upon a Blurb

While everyone is singing cheerful Christmas carols, Harry Moon and the Good Mischief Team march to a different song – Don’t be Afraid of the Dark. With their swords of light, the team battles against the Fouling Curse threatening Harry’s magic teacher, Samson Dupree, and the Sleepy Hollow Magic Shoppe. As evil armies of toys rise up, Harry must leave the sword behind to find a more powerful means to take down the darkness threatening Sleepy Hollow’s entire world.