6 magical books about wishes

Published on: 31 July 2023 Author: Rachel Chivers Khoo

The Wishkeeper's Apprentice author Rachel Chivers Khoo has a wish – that readers will enjoy the same books as her!

A photo of Rachel Chivers Khoo and the front cover of her book The Wishkeeper's Apprentice

Photo: Paul Akinrinlola

At school events, I always begin with this question: "Have you ever made a wish?"

Hands shoot up. Excited voices tell me about dandelion wishes, penny fountains, birthday candles, wishes on stars, and wishbones. In an instant, we are all transported from the stuffy assembly hall to a realm of hope where anything seems possible.

That's the power of childhood wishes. Hope-filled wishes that can and do set us off on grand adventures.

In my debut book, The Wishkeeper's Apprentice, hope is measured by a wish-statistical machine called a wishfulness gauge. Rupus Beewinkle, the wishkeeper of Whittlestone, is keeping a close eye on his wishfulness gauge, since the dial has been dropping lower and lower every day for weeks.

Unbeknown to Rupus, a ferocious wishsnatcher is prowling the streets of Whittlestone, attacking wishes and looking for a chance to destroy Rupus once and for all.

An illustration from the front cover of The Wishkeeper's Apprentice - a child wearing a long flowing coat riding a bicycle through the night, holding a golden wishfulness gauge ahead of him

Pic: Rachel Sanson

As readers, we discover the world of wishkeeping through the eyes of Felix Jones, a very ordinary boy who agrees to become Rupus's apprentice.

Felix quickly learns that making wishes come true isn't easy. Wishes need to be collected, granted, maintained and protected. Wishkeeping requires diligence, perseverance and, most importantly, hope. Felix must find a way to help Rupus hold onto hope and save the wishes of Whittlestone before they are destroyed.

For as long as I can remember I have always loved wish-stories. Stories that invite limitless imagination from their readers and their writers. Here are a few of my personal favourites, old and new:

The front covers of The Adventures of the Wishing-Chair, Five Children and It, Once Upon a Wish, The Witchling Wish, Genie and Teeny Make a Wish and The Boy Whose Wishes Came True

1. The Adventures of the Wishing-Chair by Enid Blyton

The first chapter book series I ever read was 'The Faraway Tree'. This was swiftly followed by reading everything else our library had by Enid Blyton. In the 'Wishing-Chair' series, two children visit an antique shop and discover a chair that grows wings and can fly them to magical lands. Of course, there are a few bumps along the way.

2. Five Children and It by E Nesbit

An enchanting and unforgettable classic story, with a rather grumpy sand fairy at its heart. The Psammead is an ancient creature, the last of its kind. It is discovered by five very ordinary children. The creature grants their extraordinary wishes, which never go quite to plan.

3. Once Upon a Wish by Amy Sparkes and Sara Ogilvie

An illustrated story about a wishgiver boy who sails through the sky in a rowing boat. There are lotions and potions and secret ingredients that can make wishes come true. Sara Ogilvie's illustrations add an extra layer of enchantment to this very special story.

4. The Witchling's Wish by Lu Fraser and Sarah Massini

Witches and wishes all rolled up into one gorgeously-illustrated picture book. This is a gentle story about what it means to be a friend. I've loved reading and re-reading the rhyming tale to my own little ones. A delight of a book.

5. Genie and Teeny Make a Wish by Steven Lenton

A wonderfully down-to-earth story about a genie called Grant and his new puppy pal, Teeny. Grant has fallen to Earth with a bump and makes his home in an old broken teapot. Packed full of illustrations and fun, this is the first book in a series by author-illustrator Steven Lenton.

6. The Boy Whose Wishes Came True by Helen Rutter

Everything is going wrong for Archie Crumb until he bumps his head and meets a rather unusual fairy godmother figure... his favourite footballer! Nine wishes later, Archie discovers that he is the one with the power to change his life. This is a wonderfully funny and empowering story about a young carer and the power of wishes.

The Wishkeeper's Apprentice by Rachel Chivers Khoo and illustrated by Rachel Sanson is out now.

Topics: Magic, Features

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