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Searched for books featuring:

  • Book author last name contains: jones

14 books met your specifications:

TitleAuthorConceptual difficulty ageVocabulary difficulty ageGenreYear of publication

Cart and CwidderDiana Wynne JonesChildren 8 and upChildren 8 and upfiction 
 There are just a few authors that my 12 year old and I trust implicitly.

After having raced through umpteen of her novels, we may have placed Diana Wynne Jones in that category. Sure, The Magicians of Caprona was kind of stupid.... But if you locked us in a library, with a short deadline in which to emerge with a book we were willing to read, it might very well be one by Diana Wynne Jones.

Cart and Cwidder is a light-weight but enjoyable and typical Diana Wynne Jones offering. There is the standard DWJ mother -- self-involved and mostly oblivious to even the most obvious danger to her children. There are the children whose future depends on their learning to take advantage of their gifts, innate and physical. In this case, the gifts are their ability to entertain, spin tales, and play the musical instruments left to them by their murdered father.
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Chronicles of Chrestomanci, Volume 1: Charmed Life / The Lives of Christopher Chant, The Diana Wynne JonesChildren 8 and upChildren 8 and upfiction1988
 The books in this set are:
  • The Lives of Christopher Chant
  • Charmed Life
We actually read them in reverse order, and recommend that you do as well.

Charmed Life is the story of Cat and Gwendolen, brother and sister orphaned when their parents were drowned. Gwendolen seems to be a talented magician. And Cat -- well, not so much. Both are adopted, for reasons Cat finds difficult to understand, by a very powerful sorcerer, the Chrestomanci.

The Lives of Christopher Chant tells the exciting story of how Christopher Chant (barely) survived to become the Chrestomanci.

Both stories explore the problems of gifted children who are made to feel inferior because they are special.


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Chronicles of Chrestomanci, Volume 2, Book 1: The Magicians of Caprona Diana Wynne JonesChildren 8 and upChildren 8 and upfiction2001
 The books in this set are:
  • Magicians of Caprona
  • Witch Week
After reading Volume 1 of the Chronicles of Chrestomanci -- Charmed Life and The Lives of Christopher Chant -- we were very eager to read the second volume.

But the first book in this volume, The Magicians of Caprona, a Chrestomanci-universe-based story with many similarities to Romeo and Juliet was a real disappointment.


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Chronicles of Chrestomanci, Volume 6: Conrad's Fate Diana Wynne JonesChildren 8 and upChildren 8 and upfiction2005
 Either Diana Wynne Jones must have had a truly rocky relationship with her uncle, and found that her mother did not protect her from him, or else she's just got a thing against uncles. In any case, evil uncles are major drivers of plots in Jones' intriguing set of worlds, as Conrad Tesdinic, the 12 yr. old narrator of this book, learns. Conrad's uncle is every bit as evil in his own ways as Christopher Chant's (who becomes the Chrestomanci in Diana Wynne Jones' universe) was to him.

A 16 yr. old Christopher Chant and his future wife, Millie, play supporting roles in this, the eventful, but not frenetic story of how Conrad avoids the terrible fate his uncle attempts to foist upon him and instead finds himself a mentor.


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Dark Lord of DerkholmDiana Wynne JonesChildren 12 and upChildren 12 and upfiction1998
 "The cool thing about Diana Wynne Jones is that we've read many of her books, but her stories are all very different. She doesn't repeat herself. This one goes from amazing to intense, maybe it's even a little too intense," says my 13 yr. old.

As you can tell, we here are huge fans of Diana Wynne Jones. We admire the magical worlds she creates and her characters -- human, wizard, and fantastical -- captivate us. We find the plots of her stories unpredictable but plausible, at least in the magical environments in which they take place.

Dark Lord of Derkholm is about a planet that is used as a playground by a imperial power, in the person of one "Mr. Chesney". The inhabitants are compelled to stage elaborate wargames, games in which they and the tourists who pay to join them risk losing lives, families, and livelihoods. (Lest this be thought of as a metaphor for the American adventure in Iraq, please note that this story was written back in 1998, before our Mr. Cheney lead us there.)

I have a friend whose brilliant son graduated from college and then promptly enlisted in the military. "Maybe I won't get sent to Iraq," he told her. "Yeah, and why are they teaching you Arabic?" she asked him. There are young people who need to truly understand how terrible war can be. And maybe we should try to communicate this to them before they are old enough to sign on the dotted line of that enlistment contract.

But what about the kids who have already drunk the Kool-Aid? Those who know that war is not a game. Do they need to know that mercenaries sometimes rape innocent children? That sometimes heroes die in battle? That those who sponsor the wars often profit vastly from the carnage? Maybe not. But I think I'd have been happier if my friend's son had thought about these things before he enlisted.
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Deep SecretDiana Wynne JonesChildren 12 and upChildren 12 and upfiction1999
 We here are huge fans of Diana Wynne Jones. We admire the magical worlds she creates and her characters -- human, wizard, and fantastical -- captivate us. We find the plots of her stories unpredictable but plausible, at least in the magical environments in which they take place. One of the coolest things about her stories is that although the plot of each of her novels is really unique, characters and laws of magic overlap in intriguing ways in the many worlds described in her many stories.

We enjoyed reading Deep Secret, mostly because we became interested in Nick Mallory, who is a protagonist in another of Jones' many novels, The Merlin Conspiracy. However, it is not one of our favorite Diana Wynne Jones books.

For one thing, Deep Secret seems to mostly target adults, perhaps because it seems to be Diana Wynne Jones' tribute to science fiction conventions. The plot -- regarding a Magid (a powerful wizard whose undercover job is to keep magic under control in some sector of the multiverse) in search of a student -- is certainly compelling for certain young readers. But Jones unnecessarily throws in words (such as "orgy") that young readers are likely to ask their parents about.

Anyway, Nick is a nice, seemingly ordinary teenage boy with a witch (in all senses of that word) for a mother and a touching relationship with his ne'er-do-well cousin Maree. When my daughter and I first "met" him in The Merlin Conspiracy, he was looking for someone to train him to control his wizardly gifts. In Deep Secret, Nick seems not to be consciously aware that he needs training.

We enjoyed learning more about Nick and Maree and the Magid Rupert Venables and many magical creatures, including some fascinating centaurs and phantasmagorical chicks, but might not have found ourselves so riveted if we were not already familiar with many other stories in the Diana Wynne Jones opus.
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DogsbodyDiana Wynne JonesChildren 12 and upChildren 8 and upfiction1975
 There are just a few authors that my 12 year old and I trust implicitly.

After having raced through umpteen of her novels, we may have placed Diana Wynne Jones in that category. Sure, The Magicians of Caprona was kind of stupid.... But if you locked us in a library, with a short deadline in which to emerge with a book we were willing to read, it might very well be one by Diana Wynne Jones.

Dogsbody pre-dates the Chrestomanci stories; it's a bit more science fiction than Jones' usual fantasy. The characters and plot -- Cinderella meets Puss (or, in this case, Dog) in Boots -- are very appealing.

The story is told mostly from the point of view of a high Illuminancy, Sirius, who, because he lost his temper and (apparently) killed someone, is exiled to Earth in the body of a new-born puppy. As Sirius learns how to survive as a dog, while solving the mystery of how he was framed, we also learn a bit about the Troubles in Northern Ireland and about how controling our impulses can help us get what we need/want.
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Fire and HemlockDiana Wynne JonesChildren 12 and upChildren 12 and upfiction1985
 There are just a few authors that my 12 year old and I trust implicitly.

After having raced through umpteen of her novels, we placed Diana Wynne Jones in that category. Sure, The Magicians of Caprona was kind of stupid.... But if you locked us in a library, with a short deadline in which to emerge with a book we were willing to read, it might very well be one by Diana Wynne Jones.

Fire and Hemlock is quite a bit different from other Jones' novels. For one thing, it is SPOOKY. It is, in fact, so intense, so spooky that if my daughter and I hadn't trusted Jones as much as we did, we would never have finished reading this story.

On the other hand, many of the characters do resemble other Jones characters we've met in her other stories. For one thing, every young woman of child-bearing age is at the very least utterly self-involved and uncaring about her children.


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Howl's Moving CastleDiana Wynne JonesChildren 8 and upChildren 8 and upfiction2001
 A cheerful, easy to read, but very complicated, backwards fairy tale, in which the protagonist is the oldest of three stepsisters. Nearly every character in this story, major and minor, wears at least one or two disguises. In some cases, the disguise is of his or her own choosing, but not always.
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Merlin Conspiracy, TheDiana Wynne JonesChildren 8 and upChildren 8 and upfiction2003
 Once, one of my daughters was interviewed for an article about gifted children. "Sheesh," she sighed when she got off the phone. "People don't realize that just because a person is smart, that doesn't mean that she knows everything. We still need to learn things and learn how to do things."

Diana Wynne Jones is one author who understands that many children have the potential to be great wizards, but they need guidance or they can go wrong. And although they are able to teach themselves many things, in order to reach their full potential, they often crave time with mentors.

In The Merlin Conspiracy, we meet three potentially great wizards. Roddy and Grundo are children of the royal court of Blest. Roddy is the daughter and granddaughter of wizards; her grandfather in particular is dauntingly illustrious. Grundo is the scion of a single (evil) mother. Roddy babies Grundo because of his learning disabilities; could it be that she coddles him too much? In another universe, Nick Mallory longs to learn from Romanov, a wizard who was hired to kill him, but who decided to let him go. But everything Nick does seems to harm Romanov rather than ingratiate him. The Merlin Conspiracy is the story of how all three get to know each other and find ways of getting educated about their worlds in an organized way.
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Ogre Downstairs, The Diana Wynne JonesChildren 8 and upChildren 8 and upfiction1991
 A magical chemistry set unites the five children in a newly-blended family, and, eventually, helps three of them learn to respect and trust their new father, who is big and loud enough to be an ogre.
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Pinhoe Egg, The: A Chrestomanci Book Diana Wynne JonesChildren 8 and upChildren 8 and upfiction2006
 In this, the latest episode in the life of Cat Chant, Cat has truly settled in to preparing for his future. The story reveals that he has come far in his apprenticeship to Christopher Chant, (the current Chrestomanci -- Chief Enchanter) and his family.

Cat has learned how to learn from a very gifted nine-lived enchanter who is (obviously) very talented, but possibly not as talented as Cat is. Throughout the book, Cat works on identifying skills Chrestomanci has that Cat still needs to learn, on when to solve problems on his own and when to call for help, and on how and when to intervene in the lives of the less gifted inhabitants of the universes he is destined to govern.

Like the plots of many other stories in the Chrestomanci series, the plot of this novel explores the problems of a gifted child (in this case a girl) who is made to feel inferior because she is special.

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Wild RobertDiana Wynne JonesChildren 8 and upChildren 8 and upfiction2003
 A girl whose family manages a historic castle in England summons a witch, Robert, who was buried 350 years earlier. Although Robert's behavior is impulsive and assertive, he usually has reasons for enchantments.
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Witch WeekDiana Wynne JonesChildren 8 and upChildren 8 and upfiction2001
 Many of the stories in Wynne Jone's Chrestomanci series explore the problems of gifted children who are made to feel inferior or taken advantage of because they are special. This happens to the protagonists of The Lives of Christopher Chant and Charmed Life, for example.

But in the society evoked in Witch Week, anyone identified as a witch is burned at the stake. Which puts the students at the Larwood House School, all of whom are orphaned because of a family connection to witchcraft, in a desperate position. Many of them know they are witches. And although it's exhiliarating to know that one has great power, they know from experience that the penalty for getting caught, or worse, being turned in by one's peers, is death by fire.

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