Help me find this 20-30 year old YA fantasy novel.

The story’s protagonists are a pair of middle-school kids, both boys, who get drawn into a fantasy world for the standard quest. One’s a jock, the other is not; as the story begins they are enemies. The first goal of their quest is to find a certain heroic character renowned for his prowess with the sword. They meet someone who claims to be that hero and are foold, but become suspicious, and in time they meet an old man who, armed only with a metal spoon and pot, overpowers the imposter. The old man gives them a few magic totems, including a pair of pots that can create any solid food the user names and a pair of canteens with a similar ability for drinks. Each of them is also given what they take to be a stone teardrop – actually the two halves of a yin-yang symbol. At the story’s climax, they confront the villain and combine their symbols so that they can merge into a single entity and defeat him.

Sound familiar?

Wow, that’s a toughie. Sorry, I got nothing.

I think I know which one you’re talking about - at the beginning, they’re waiting to get sent into the principal’s office, and at the end, after they combine into the hero, they’re transported back to school in the hallway and they start grinning at each other about how much less scary it is to be facing the principal after what they’ve been through.


Sadly, I can’t bring up the title right now - I’ll check with a few friends and get to you as soon as I remember (or am reminded).

Friend network ftw

The Hero from Otherwhere, by Jay Williams.

Yep, that’s it Lasciel. I recognized it right away. Loved this book when I was a kid. And Jay Williams was half of the Danny Dunn writing duo.

Must have been late in his career. I was reading Danny Dunn books when I was a kid and that was more than twenty or thirty years ago.

I think that’s right.


Well, my little sister’s in her late thirties and read it as a lass, so that’s what I based the age on.

And I just found it on Amazon. It’ll make a good no-particular-occasion gift for the little sister, so thanks to all who helped.

Since I missed the opportunity to identify this book, I thought I could at least drop in to mention that I enjoyed this book too - I read it in 1978 or so, and couldn’t find it for ages, till I googled “The mathematics of the heart, adds together what’s apart” which was non-jock’s poem which helped resolve their problems, and found it last year.