(Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults)

The title The Wizard in the Tree may at first conjure an image of a magical man sitting among the branches of a tree, but Alexander's title has a literal meaning— Mallory, his heroine, finds a wizard enveloped in a tree trunk. The wizard was trapped there ages ago when the magic peoples of the earth were leaving the ordinary world to go to an island called Vale Innis. They were not to harm any living thing during this journey, but the wizard Arbican did not think the injunction extended to breaking off a tree branch for a walking stick. He broke a branch and was instantly swallowed up by the tree.

Mallory liberates Arbican into a world very different from the one he remembers; here there are pistols, steam engines, and all manner of devices that alarm him. This technological wizardry is offset by his realization that the people of Mallory's world are just as confused and ignorant as the inhabitants of the world he had been leaving. He is irritable and sometimes rude, but Arbican manages to show Mallory that life offers more than just his kind of modern magic. Human beings have their own manner of magic: they can make magical events happen if they only apply themselves and work to make it happen. The Wizard in the Tree is a clever adventure featuring a wizard lost out of his own time and a young woman who learns to stand up for herself and create her own fairy-tale ending.

(The entire section is 252 words.)