There was a female who could grow plants, and she carried seeds with her. But there was this door made of Reverse Wood that when she threw the seed in front of it and told it to grow nothing happened (spell was reversed).

There was a boy, perhaps even royalty who could only conjure rotten fruit, until he met another girl who improved his magic.

There was a little girl, very young, who's magical talent was to improve someone's ability by believing in them. She believed in the boy who only conjured rotten fruit and his fruit he conjured became fresh and healthy. She also believed in this young dragon who couldn't fly because his wings were too small for his body and he grew larger wings and was able to fly.

There was an old man/wizard who was trying to create a youth elixir by soaking some special water in reverse wood, but he made it too strong and he became very young.

  • Incidentally, you got it close, but the youth elixir is what he had to begin with; after an accidental overdose, he was later told to stick the reverse wood into it to make an aging elixir out of it to undo the unintentionally overdone de-aging.
    – K-H-W
    Commented Mar 29, 2012 at 3:52

2 Answers 2


The Xanth books, by Piers Anthony.

The boy who conjured rotten fruit is Hugo. The girl who improved people's abilities is Ivy. The dragon is the former Gap dragon, named 'Stanley Steamer' by Ivy.

It could be one of several books, but is probably Ivy's effective debut, Dragon on a Pedestal.

When the book begins, the Good Magician Humfrey, and his son Hugo, run into the Gap dragon while filling a vial with water from the Fountain of Youth. Humpfrey tells Hugo to douse the dragon with the water, and Hugo does so but accidentally sprays Humpfrey as well. Humpfrey regresses to the age of a baby, as does the dragon. Queen Irene realizes Princess Ivy has wandered off, and begins a quest to find her daughter. Luckily, Ivy comes across Humfrey's 8-year-old son Hugo, and – due to her unknown talent of enhancement – Hugo temporarily becomes smarter, braver, and stronger when she tells him he is. Ivy also manages to enhance the positive qualities of the Gap Dragon, and names him Stanley Steamer.

In Castle Roogna, Dor accidentally put a forget spell on the Gap Chasm (the huge rift that splits Xanth in two), while trying to escape a horde of harpies and goblins, with the result being that everyone forgot the Gap Chasm existed, with the exception of the people who live near it. In this book, the forget spell is beginning to disintegrate into "forget whorls" spinning off into the nearby forest (due to the Time Of No Magic caused when Bink released the Demon X(A/N)th), causing confusion and memory loss. Ivy ends up walking through a forget whirl and it causes her to forget how to get home.

Near the end of the novel, all the characters join forces against a swarm of wiggles, which threaten the welfare of Xanth by burrowing through anything and everything in their path.

  • 1
    Dang. You got your edits in with the grace period. Now it looks like I edited to try and copy you :p. +1 from me.
    – Beofett
    Commented Mar 28, 2012 at 21:38
  • 1
    lol Great minds work in similar ways.. We both tossed out minimal 'placeholder' answers and were editing them almost before we had hit 'Post' :) +1 to yours from me, though; you had the book title first, I was busy adding Wiki links.
    – K-H-W
    Commented Mar 29, 2012 at 1:04
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    I was OBSESSED with the Xanth series when I was in high school. Great humor for a young adult. They lost their humor as u grew older though. Commented Mar 29, 2012 at 5:12

This is from Piers Anthony's Xanth series. It sounds like it is probably Dragon on a Pedestal.

The woman who can grow seeds is the Sorceress Irene.

The magician who gets youthified is Magician Humphrey, magician of information.

The little girl who's Talent is enhancing others is the Sorceress Ivy, Irene's daughter.

Hugo is Humphreys son, who get smarter, more handsome, and with a better talent because Ivy believes its true (and because of her talent).

The dragon is the infamous Gap Dragon, made young by the same Fountain of Youth water accident that regressed Humphrey.

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