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The Magicians of Caprona
Cover of The Magicians of Caprona
The Magicians of Caprona
The Chronicles of Chrestomanci, Book 2

Tonino is the only person in the famous Montana household who wasn't born with an instinct for creating spells, but he has other gifts. His ability to communicate with cats just might help defend the city of Caprona against a mysterious enchanter -- but only if Tonino can learn to cooperate with a girl from the hated Petrocchi family of spell-makers.

Tonino is the only person in the famous Montana household who wasn't born with an instinct for creating spells, but he has other gifts. His ability to communicate with cats just might help defend the city of Caprona against a mysterious enchanter -- but only if Tonino can learn to cooperate with a girl from the hated Petrocchi family of spell-makers.

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  • Available:
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  • Library copies:
    1
Levels-
  • ATOS:
    5.2
  • Lexile:
  • Interest Level:
    MG
  • Text Difficulty:
    4

Recommended for you

Excerpts-
  • Chapter One

    Spells are the hardest thing in the world to get right.This was one of the first things the Montana childrenlearnt. Anyone can hang up a charm, but when it comesto making that charm, whether it is written or spoken orsung, everything has to be just right, or the mostimpossible things happen.

    An example of this is young Angelica Petrocchi, who turned her father bright green by singing a wrong note. It was the talk of all Caprona -- indeed of all Italy -- for weeks.

    The best spells still come from Caprona, in spite of the recent troubles, from the Casa Montana or the Casa Petrocchi. If you are using words that really work, to improve reception on your radio or to grow tomatoes, then the chances are that someone in your family has been on a holiday to Caprona and brought the spell back. The Old Bridge in Caprona is lined with little stone booths, where long coloured envelopes, scrips and scrolls hang from strings like bunting. You can get spells there from every spell-house in Italy. Each spell is labelled as to its use and stamped with the sign of the house which made it. If you want to find out who made your spell, look among your family papers. If you find a long cherry-coloured scrip stamped with a black leopard, then it came from the Casa Petrocchi. If you find a leafgreen envelope bearing a winged horse, then the House Of Montana made it. The spells of both houses are so good that ignorant people think that even the envelopes can work magic. This, of course, is nonsense. For, as Paolo and Tonino Montana were told over and over again, a spell is the right words delivered in the right way.

    The great houses of Petrocchi and Montana go back to the first founding of the State of Caprona, seven hundred years or more ago. And they are bitter rivals. They are not even on speaking terms. If a Petrocchi and a Montana meet in one of Caprona's narrow goldenstone streets, they turn their eyes aside and edge past as if they were both walking past a pig-sty. Their children are sent to different schools and warned never, ever to exchange a word with a child from the other house.

    Sometimes, however, parties of young men and women of the Montanas and the Petrocchis happen to meet when they are strolling on the wide street called the Corso in the evenings. When that happens, other citizens take shelter at once. If they fight with fists and stones, that is bad enough, but if they fight with spells, it can be appalling.

    An example of this is when the dashing Rinaldo Montana caused the sky to rain cowpats on the Corso for three days. It created great distress among the tourists.

    "A Petrocchi insulted me," Rinaldo explained, with his most flashing smile. "And I happened to have a new spell in my pocket."

    The Petrocchis unkindly claimed that Rinaldo had misquoted his spell in the heat of the battle. Everyone knew that all Rinaldo's spells were love-charms.

    The grown-ups of both houses never explained to the children just what had made the Montanas and, the Petrocchis hate one another so. That was a task traditionally left to the older brothers, sisters and cousins. Paolo and Tonino were told the story repeatedly, by their sisters Rosa, Corinna and Lucia, by their cousins Luigi, Carlo, Domenico and Anna, and again by their second-cousins Piero, Luca, Giovanni, Paula, Teresa, Bella, Angelo and Francesco. They told it themselves to six smaller cousins as they grew up. The Montanas were a large family.

About the Author-
  • In a career spanning four decades, award-winning author Diana Wynne Jones (1934‒2011) wrote more than forty books of fantasy for young readers. Characterized by magic, multiple universes, witches and wizards—and a charismatic nine-lived enchanter—her books are filled with unlimited imagination, dazzling plots, and an effervescent sense of humor that earned her legendary status in the world of fantasy.

Reviews-
  • Charmed Life...Times Literary Supplement "An outstandingly inventive and entertaining novel."
  • Charmed Life...The Horn Book "Set in a time vaguely reminiscent of Edwardian England, the novel presumes the existence of numerous worlds -- past, present, and future -- each with its own history. The concept is ingenious ... and shy small Cat, intimidated by his selfish sister, is a particularly appealing character."
  • The Magicians of Caprona... The Horn Book "The author has a remarkable talent for creating a time which never was, yet which seem unbelievably familiar.... A gorgeous concoction of humor, suspense, and romance."
  • Witch Week... Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books "This is a remarkably adroit blending of vivid fantasy, a funny and perceptive school story, and a thoughtful commentary on how thin the line that separates what is from what might be."
  • The Lives of Christopher Chant The Horn Book, starred review "Wonderfully entertaining. A born storyteller weaves her own brand of magic.... Marvelously funny moments sparkle throughout."
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    HarperCollins
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The Chronicles of Chrestomanci, Book 2
Diana Wynne Jones
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