What would the stock of a magic shop be like? Young Georgie McQuist gets an eyeful one night when he lingers after closing time.
Actually the light-brown–skinned lad sneaks in on a dare, hides out next to the jars of “fresh pickled elf” until the doors are locked, then falls through a trap door to the crowded cellar. There, further eerie treasures from “freeze-dried ghoul and dragon drool” to “a kraken for your swimming pool” are all waiting to be inventoried by a harried ectoplasmic clerk. Undaunted, Georgie offers to help. Written in reasonably tight limerick-style verses that break into couplets for the actual inventory, the episode ambles along amiably until the arrival of the store’s cackling proprietor, Miss Pustula Night (a white woman with hooked nose and blonde hair in curlers). Seeing the tally complete, she decides not to eat Georgie but to send him on his way with a souvenir—a hairy pink monster that sends his classmates off screaming at school the next day. Beginning with an outside view of the shop, with its caged skeleton and toothy “Unwelcome Mat,” Shelley expands on Clickard’s tally of witchly and wizardly stock in trade by further cramming every nook and shelf in sight with precisely detailed arcane items and thrillingly icky specimens.
One-stop shopping for all your elixir, potion, and spellcasting needs. Jinxes 50 percent off! (Picture book. 6-9)