Just as suddenly as she disappeared at the end of series opener Sadie’s Story (2015), Ms. M the witch pops back into the lives of three besties right when she's needed.
In the first book, a lonely Sadie befriends Ms. M while Jess and Maya are on vacation at Moosehead Lake. This time, Ms. M comes to Jess’ rescue. A natural athlete, Jess excels at basketball, soccer, tennis—just about any sport she tries her hand at. But when it comes to moves in the kitchen, Jess is no match for her chef mom. One afternoon when the babysitter cancels, Jess and her friends decide to make lasagna to surprise her mom. Unfortunately, their good intentions result in a smoked-filled kitchen. Jess is grounded, but all is not lost. Ms. M shows up as her new sitter, and the witch’s outrageous magic stunts and mutual love of sports cheer Jess up. Despite the witty humor, some jokes may go over young readers’ heads. For instance, Jess tries to learn Dog (yes, it’s a language) but “Fra, fra. Foow,” from Jess’ mouth is not the same as “Fra, fra. Foow,” from Ms. M’s. “It’s all in the intonation, dear. Like Chinese.” However, many preteen girls can identify with Jess’ thorny relationship with her mom; no matter how hard she tries, she can’t seem to make her mom happy. Marcero depicts a multiracial trio of friends; Jess and her mom appear to be Asian.
Delightful illustrations and enduring underlying themes make this a fun, quick read. (cooking tips, recipe, resources) (Fantasy. 9-12)