Roland Faissett and The Wizards of Wee Ville by Janice E Clark

It is the first day of school at Wee Ville Elementary School and all students are excited to start a new year. Along with ‘reading, writing and arithmetic’, the students are about to meet a very special young man with a very positive and truly amazing attitude that will change them all.

As the new school year begins, Ms. Fernandes’s class children are eager to get started and are happily smiling and chatting as they choose their new desks. When the youngsters calm down, their teacher welcomes another student who is a little late for school. Ms. Fernandes introduces his students to Roland Faissett, a boy disguised as a magician, with a cap and a magic crystal ball.

Slowly he crossed the room

Dress crawling on the floor.

He chose a seat that was alone

Right next to the exit door.

Roland seems to be a quiet kid, but soon the class is busy with their first assignment: drawing a picture of something they did on summer vacation, and forgetting about the shy kid. It’s finally lunchtime and the students are eagerly heading to the cafeteria. While there, Caitlin, another of Mrs. Fernandes’s students, notices that Roland is not at lunch. Her teacher explains that she had an appointment and would be back the next day.

The next day, the students of Mrs. Fernandes’s class are happy to see that shy Roland has returned, still in his wizard costume. The day quickly progresses until recess when the students begin to ask the young wizard about his outfit. He explains that the hospital nurses made him the costume and gave him the crystal ball so that he could do magic and improve. Roland’s new friends are curious as the boy takes off his hat and shows his bald head. He explains that, “I received treatments called chemotherapy because my blood is sick” and that his crystal ball allows him to see his healthy future, which helps him improve. Roland’s new friends are happy to hear that Roland is done with his treatments and for Halloween they all do something very special that brings the whole class together to cheer on Roland and his recovery.

Roland Faissett and The Wizards of Wee Ville is a moving story that is perfect to share with both young people facing medical challenges and their friends who may not understand what is happening. The story doesn’t focus on Roland’s chemotherapy or other challenges, but on how the other students react and help his new friend. They see a child dressed differently and instead of making fun of him, they ask him questions because they are curious. In fact, even the boy’s name, Roland Faissett (roll and face him), is a play on words that shows the amazing resilience of children. The watercolor illustrations are gorgeous and add a nice soft touch to the story.

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