I read this in 90s but the book might've come out in the 80s.

A girl at her library finds a how-to book about witchcraft in the children's section, among other how-to books. She's been at this library her whole life and never saw it before, so it catches her eye.

She, her guy friend, and her little sister, all learn about spells but in their specific way. The main character about nature, the guy friend about machinery/mechanics, and the little sister on a Mac (non Mac, no bite out of the apple).

They save the world in various ways. Once by traveling through space, once in the ocean shape-shifting into I think dolphins, meeting a shark and they have to do a play with specific parts. The shark takes the main characters place for her role in a dramatic turn later.

I'd like my daughter to read it, but have no idea the author or book title.

Thanks in advance for any help!

  • 8
    Ah, the 80s, when kids finding strange books in the children's section was a nice plot hook, and not the starting point for a conservative defund-the-library campaign.
    – xLeitix
    Commented May 21 at 6:47

1 Answer 1


You may be looking for the "Young Wizards" series, by Diane Duane. This series of eleven novels began its publication history in the early 1980s. I, myself, have only read the first two novels, both of which I recognize from your descriptions. The first, "So You Want to Be a Wizard", shows the main character, a girl named Nita, finding the so-titled book in the library. The tome proves to be a wizards' instruction manual, and puts them in touch with the secret world of wizards. She also meets a new friend, a boy named Kit who also found the wizards' manual.

The first novel has the young wizards teleport to a hellish alternate version of New York City, a place inhabited by living mutant vehicles.

The second novel, "Deep Wizardry", has the kids go into the ocean to assist marine wizards. Both of them transform into whales (Nita into a humpback, Kit into a sperm whale) to assist in a war with krakens. The plot also involves an undersea ceremony which requires a lethal final act, and the Master Shark, who, judging by his description, is a surviving specimen of the prehistoric shark Otodus Megalodon.

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  • 2
    +1 on this being the series.
    – FuzzyBoots
    Commented May 20 at 0:35
  • 2
    And the third book "High Wizardry" is where Nita's little sister, Dairine, gets the laptop; downloaded with the Wizard's Manual. She goes on a wild trip through space, and ends up on a bare silicon planet; where she creates a race of silicon beings who are computer based.
    – sueelleker
    Commented May 20 at 8:23
  • And if I recall correctly, the Fifth Doctor makes a cameo in High Wizardry, helping one of the kids out of a dangerous situation.
    – AJM
    Commented May 20 at 8:41
  • @sueelleker And to add a minor confirming detail, the apple logo in that book does not have a bite out. Commented May 20 at 10:14
  • 4
    If these click for your daughter the way they did in my childhood and you reach the point in the series where this is relevant - it's worth trying to track down a "New Millenium" edition of "A Wizard Alone". These are a series of minor revisions and timeline updates for most of the books, but "A Wizard Alone" got a major rewrite and - in my opinion - badly needed it. The first version relied on what is now considered a badly outdated understanding of neurodivergence. The revised edition may only be available as an ebook, unfortunately. Commented May 20 at 15:24

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