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THE WITCHES' KITCHEN by Allen Williams


by Allen Williams & illustrated by Allen Williams

Age Range: 10 - 14

Pub Date: Oct. 5th, 2010
ISBN: 978-0-7595-2912-0
Publisher: Little, Brown

A Toad in a Kitchen escapes two Witch Sisters and sets off on a journey of discovery, aided by a mixed bag of friends (who befriend her for no apparent reason, despite the fact that this brings them danger and misfortune; some of them also speak in inexplicable and inconsistent dialects). The prose in Williams’s mostly gorgeously self-illustrated novel is a vehicle propelling readers from one picture to another, but none of the characters ever comes alive, and the dialogue is juvenile at best and heavy on the exposition. The Kitchen itself is actually spectacular: a dark world peopled by odd and mostly malevolent creatures (carnivorous fairies; an ill-tempered potbellied stove) where light never shines and furniture moves, but it’s like a set full of amateurs. Toad’s eventually recovered memories (surprise: She's a beautiful girl under a spell of sorts) do hint at a wider world, but this is too little, too late. Despite some discrepancies between descriptions and images, especially for the human-like characters, the illustrator’s talent is indisputable; still, the art can’t save this. (Final art not seen.) (Fantasy. 10-14)