Wiglaf of Pinwick is a scrawny kid from the village of Pinwick. His hair is carrot orange and his clothes are ragged, and he can’t stand the sight of blood. He feeds his family’s pigs, one of which is Daisy, his best curly tailed friend. But young Wiglaf’s future takes a turn when a traveling minstrel tells him stories of the great dragon, Gorzil. Wiglaf sets his heart upon becoming a hero, and jumps at the chance to attend the local Dragon Slayers Academy, even though he has a weak stomach. The tuition fee? Seven pennies. Despite the fact that they lack these seven pennies, his mother and father send him forth to learn how to bring back dragon gold to save them from destitution. And so gentle Wiglaf and his pig, Daisy, begin the quest that will span over twelve hilarious books.
Their path takes them through a dangerous swamp, where Wiglaf springs into action when he spots a cantankerous wizard, who looks in need of help. After a somewhat haphazard attempt in pulling this robed man from the mud, the wizard offers his own aid. …”and speaking of wishes, what’ll it be?” Zelnoc asked. “I beg your pardon?” Wiglaf said. “Your wish!” Zelnoc repeated. “You did interrupt me, it’s true. But you meant well. And Wizard Rule 364 says every good deed must be rewarded. So wish away, but make it snappy. I haven’t got all day.” “All right,” Wiglaf agreed. “I wish for…seven pennies!” Zelnoc shook his head. “Sorry, kid. Wizards never carry cash.”
Although not an especially difficult read, (being written for ages 7 to 10), this series is as clever as it is entertaining. Wiglaf’s noble nature is counter-acted by a greedy headmaster, a bold friend who keeps a royal secret, a pretentious knight, a pig that speaks Pig Latin, and nasty dragons. Each story is full of medieval fantasy cliches and eccentric characters, the illustrations are detailed and comical, and the jokes are many.
All in all–a wonderful read.