A sweet but never cloying tale of a student witch, playfully illustrated.

Greta's Magical Mistake

With simple rhymes and a gentle spirit, veteran children’s author Cobb (Daddy Did I Ever Say? I Love You, Love You, Every Day, 2012, etc.) offers an enjoyable story of a witch-in-training whose good intentions go awry.

Little Greta Grohm, a student at Wilhelm’s Magic Academy for “magically gifted witches, warlocks and more,” discovers a lonely cat hiding under a car one rainy day. She names him Hamlet and brings him home, confident that her bird friends, Ray and Dew, will be delighted by the new addition to the family. At their first meeting, however, the birds squawk, Hamlet hisses, and general pandemonium breaks out. What to do? Greta, an apprentice witch, waves her wand and tries a spell—and accidentally zaps Hamlet into a painting of sunflowers. She asks her talking magic book for help, and it responds, “What is it now! / Did you turn your mom / into a dog, or the / dog into a cow?” Unfortunately, Greta doesn’t listen to the spell book’s instructions carefully enough, and transports herself, Ray and Dew into the painting. Ray and Drew comfort apologetic Greta (“They flew onto her shoulders, / Ray kissed her with his beak. / Dew then wiped a tear away / as it rolled down her cheek”). The birds, who paid close attention, finally steer Greta in the right direction, and the crisis has a happily-ever-after resolution. This pleasant, engaging story provides valuable messages about friendship and the importance of good listening. Artist Pentangelo’s colorful, playfully skewed images underscore the text’s comical tone and contain numerous small details that attentive readers will enjoy: Greta’s fuzzy kitty slippers, daisy-trimmed skirt and rain boots, her umbrella’s tiny fish decorations, and sunflowers growing out of cups, books and shoes.

A sweet but never cloying tale of a student witch, playfully illustrated. 

Pub Date: April 17, 2013

ISBN: 978-0615796321

Page Count: 46

Publisher: 10 to 2 Children's Books

Review Posted Online: June 13, 2013

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A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift.

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BECAUSE I HAD A TEACHER

A paean to teachers and their surrogates everywhere.

This gentle ode to a teacher’s skill at inspiring, encouraging, and being a role model is spoken, presumably, from a child’s viewpoint. However, the voice could equally be that of an adult, because who can’t look back upon teachers or other early mentors who gave of themselves and offered their pupils so much? Indeed, some of the self-aware, self-assured expressions herein seem perhaps more realistic as uttered from one who’s already grown. Alternatively, readers won’t fail to note that this small book, illustrated with gentle soy-ink drawings and featuring an adult-child bear duo engaged in various sedentary and lively pursuits, could just as easily be about human parent- (or grandparent-) child pairs: some of the softly colored illustrations depict scenarios that are more likely to occur within a home and/or other family-oriented setting. Makes sense: aren’t parents and other close family members children’s first teachers? This duality suggests that the book might be best shared one-on-one between a nostalgic adult and a child who’s developed some self-confidence, having learned a thing or two from a parent, grandparent, older relative, or classroom instructor.

A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-943200-08-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Compendium

Review Posted Online: Dec. 14, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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More gift book than storybook, this is a meaningful addition to nursery bookshelves

MAYBE

A young child explores the unlimited potential inherent in all humans.

“Have you ever wondered why you are here?” asks the second-person narration. There is no one like you. Maybe you’re here to make a difference with your uniqueness; maybe you will speak for those who can’t or use your gifts to shine a light into the darkness. The no-frills, unrhymed narrative encourages readers to follow their hearts and tap into their limitless potential to be anything and do anything. The precisely inked and colored artwork plays with perspective from the first double-page spread, in which the child contemplates a mountain (or maybe an iceberg) in their hands. Later, they stand on a ladder to place white spots on tall, red mushrooms. The oversized flora and fauna seem to symbolize the presumptively insurmountable, reinforcing the book’s message that anything is possible. This quiet read, with its sophisticated central question, encourages children to reach for their untapped potential while reminding them it won’t be easy—they will make messes and mistakes—but the magic within can help overcome falls and failures. It’s unlikely that members of the intended audience have begun to wonder about their life’s purpose, but this life-affirming mood piece has honorable intentions. The child, accompanied by an adorable piglet and sporting overalls and a bird-beaked cap made of leaves, presents white.

More gift book than storybook, this is a meaningful addition to nursery bookshelves . (Picture book. 2-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-946873-75-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Compendium

Review Posted Online: May 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2019

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