In the companion title to A Very Brave Witch (2006), the gutsy, green-skinned girl hopes to teach her little sister to be courageous as well.
McGhee positions the older, unnamed witch girl as narrator, reacting to events with a rather smug superiority. She wants Witchling to “study the humans and learn their mysterious ways,” but at the sight and then taste of candy, Witchling’s reaction is “yum” instead of the prescribed “yuck.” At first the older sister is proud of the little one’s bravery, but readers will see that all Witchling’s developed is a sweet tooth. Parents can relate! Misadventures follow as Witchling takes off on a broom to participate in Halloween trick-or-treating. Bliss infuses humor into his watercolor-and-ink scenes by including an anxious yellow cat who interjects “Holy catnip” and “Holy whiskers” in thought bubbles. When Witchling ends up with an overflowing, too-heavy hat full of candy, her older sister swoops in. But the extra weight is too much for the broom, and Witchling must dump out her great haul to the delight of the humans below. Although well-intentioned and not without charming moments, the book lacks a punch in the ending. The older witch is proud of her sister, but it is unclear for what. Taking off on her own?
The contrast between the sister’s understanding and depicted reality is not enough to maintain this 32-page joke. (Picture book. 4-7)