KAYTEK THE WIZARD
KAYTEK THE WIZARD
First English translation
Written by Janusz Korczak, published in Polish in 1933
Translated by Antonia Lloyd-Jones
Illustrated by Avi Katz
Hardcover, 272 pages
Penlight Publications, 2012
Kaytek, a schoolboy who wants to become a wizard, is surprised to discover that, with practice, he is able to perform magic spells and change reality. With prospects of mischief in mind, he conceals his powers and playfully causes strange incidents in his school and neighborhood. Though harmless at first, Kaytek's antics and increasing abilities soon wreak major chaos around the city of Warsaw, and the police start searching for the cause.
Disillusioned, Kaytek leaves the country and wanders the world in search of the meaning of his unique abilities and their consequences. As Kaytek experiences a loss of innocence, the tone of the story and the accompanying illustrations get steadily darker. Revolving around the notion that power is not without responsibility nor without repercussions, this story speaks to every child's dream of freeing themselves from the endless control of adults, and shaping the world to their own designs.
BriAnimations Living Entertainment premiered a puppet play version of Kaytek the Wizard in 2016. This production has been performed across the U.S., from Tennessee to Maine to California, at festivals, schools and performing arts centers. At the August 2018 International Korczak Conference in Seattle, Washington, this production won a recognition award for introducing audiences to this man who is often referred to as “The King of Children”.
A short preview of the puppet play can be seen here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yQVAkApQqQI
Praise for Kaytek the Wizard
"Harry Potter, step aside. The young hero of Kaytek the Wizard by Janusz Korczak (illustrated by Avi Katz; translated by Antonia Lloyd-Jones; Penlight Publications, 272 pp. $17.95) has sufficient power to transform his gluttonous classmate’s breakfast into a frog and then to soar skyward and land on the roof of a Warsaw tram. As his proficiency at magic increases, he explores a complex cosmos, interacting with Africans and Americans and zooming across oceans and continents. The author is the legendary Holocaust hero who voluntarily accompanied the Jewish children of his orphanage to Treblinka. This first English publication of his enduring classic grants Korczak a posthumous victory of a kind. Readers will learn that boy wizards, like all children, must tread carefully as they navigate their way through a complex world."