Should Wizard Hit Mommy Summary by John Updike


The story of Should Wizard Hit Mommy revolves around a small family with Jack the father, Claire the mother, Jo, the daughter and Bobby, the son. The family is also expecting a new baby and lives a normal life of togetherness and warmth.

Jo & Bedtime Stories

The eldest kid, Jo or Joanne is four years old. Since she was two years old, her father and she have developed a Saturday night ritual of bedtime stories. Jo cannot fall asleep without hearing one of her father’s stories.

As it has been a long time of storytelling, Jack struggles to create new content and resorts to one simple script involving a distressed animal (named Roger), a wise Owl, a helpful Wizard and it ends with a final solution to whatever is the cause of the stress.

Shunk’s Story

One night, during the storytelling session, Jo demands to hear the story about a Skunk (as she has recently learned about what a ‘Skunk” is). Jack reads from the same old script. Roger (the Skunk) had a problem with a horrible stench.

His foul odor made him a very target of abuse among his peers and he was left alone and sad. To solve his worries, Roger seeks the advice of the Old Owl. The sage Owl asks him to consult the Wizard so he seeks the famed sorcerer.

The Wizard agrees to solve his problem by using magic but at a price of seven pennies. Roger has only four but the Wizard tells him to gather more pennies from a nearby spot known for its magic pennies. Roger arranges the fee and so the Wizard turns his smell into the fragrance of roses, according to Roger’s wishes.

However, when Roger returns home, he is scolded and taken to task by his mother. She encourages him to not let others compel him to lose his originality and identity. The odor was his natural attribute and he should not be afraid to own it.

She goes to the Wizard and expresses her frustration to him. The Wizard duly reverts Roger to his smelly self. Eventually, all other animals learn the good things in Roger and befriend him. He was not alone anymore.

Jo’s Unsatisfaction With Story

Jo is not content with the ending and complained to her father. She wants the Wizard to teach the Mother Skunk a lesson by using his wand and turn her son back to his rosy best. Jack is already tired and bored and does not entertain Jo’s fancies. He asks her to go to sleep and wait for a new story later.

Jo demands that Jack narrates the altered version of the story the next night. Jack tries to teach her the special place of a mother, her lovable and respectful role and that should never be subjected to any affront or violence.


Jack then goes to his pregnant wife Claire, who is busy doing chores. She enquires about the time it took in the storytelling session but Jack dismisses her and even threatens to assault her. They hear some footsteps which belonged to little Jo.

Read the theme of Should Wizard Hit Mommy.