Tashi and the wicked magician: and other stories by Anna Fienberg and Barbara Fienberg
Pictures by Geoff Kelly & Kim Gamble. Allen & Unwin, 2014.
(Age: 5-8) I have discovered over the past twenty years, most of those as a teacher-librarian, that everyone loves this heroic and clever little figure, who comes from far away. Tashi's adventures have entranced readers, both boys and girls, from his very first appearance and this latest instalment will prove every bit as enchanting.
Tashi's gift as a storyteller is only rivalled by that of his creators and this lovely hardbacked collection of five stories would make a wonderful gift - but will also be a hot favourite in any primary school library. I have seen the toughest and most advanced readers excitedly scoop up new Tashi books with a nonchalant disclaimer 'I loved these when I was younger Miss' - then take them home and devour them!
In this collection Tashi and his friends deal with a nefarious wandering magician (though there is some doubt as to whether saving the greedy Baron's treasures is a worthy cause), have a narrow escape in a dangerous house fire, thoroughly rout some thieving rare orchid snatchers and finally, as told on the fun camping trip with his 'adopted' family, Jack & Co, a story that demonstrates Tashi's resourcefulness and courage in the face of a rather wily dragon.
The Tashi books, including this one, offer children and teachers to explore themes of friendship, bravery, loyalty, ethical problem solving, teamwork and more. There is a richness in the stories that can springboard into many follow on activities including exploring other cultures and countries.