CM Archive
CM Archive Book Review line

Cowie, Victor and Victor Davies.

Winnipeg, Turnstone Press, c1984. 66pp, paper, $6.95, ISBN 0-88801-094-X. CIP

Grades 3 and up
Reviewed by Maryleah Otto

Volume 13 Number 6
1985 November

The Magic Trumpet was premiered in 1969 by the Manitoba Theatre Company and, subsequently, was produced by several children's theatre companies across Canada. A 1980 American premiere was performed by the Children's Theatre Place company of New York. In 1974, it was produced on the CTV network as a children's TV special.

A group of carefree children, about to begin their summer holidays, suddenly find themselves sentenced to two months of chore-duty because the mayor has given in to the town crank, Mrs. Mean, who cannot abide noisy, happy youngsters. When Maestro the magician offers to take them into his circus as helpers instead, they jump at the chance and follow him into the Forbidden Forest. Here he changes them into performing animals. With only a diet of water and hay, and hours of daily practising to learn their routines for the show-ring, the children soon become fed up. Then along comes their friend, Simon Small, the only one who had refused to follow the magician. Simon has a message from the mayor, who is now sorry he was so hard on the children. He would like them to come back and enjoy their holidays, but first they must find the way to become children again. They remember something the magician had said about a talking tree and a magic trumpet, so they run away to the Enchanted Grove hoping to free themselves from the spell. After much searching, the tree is found, and it tells the children they must wrest the magic trumpet from the magician and blow it in order to be rid of their animal guise. A great chase and scuffle ensue, with a delightful ending in which the tree (also under a spell) becomes a beautiful ballerina; Mrs. Mean leaves town for good; the mayor renames their home Happy town; and the magician gives up his magic in favour of running a real circus.

Cowie and Davies have put together a musical play that is as enchanting to read as it must be to watch and hear. The dialogue captures the thoughts and speech of eight to twelve year olds perfectly. There is lots of action and the fairy-tale settings create an illusion of believable fantasy. Strong comic elements and songs are sustained throughout the play.

The Magic Trumpet is ideal for children's drama groups or school productions. What a wonderful introduction to theatre for children. If only I could have heard the music to accompany the lyrics, it would have been perfect.

Maryleah Otto, Etobicoke P.L., Etobicoke, Ont.
line indexes


1971-1979 | 1980-1985 | 1986-1990 | 1991-1995


The materials in this archive are copyright © The Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission Copyright information for reviewers

Young Canada Works