Who!?!! Me, first: Elizabeth, apprentice witch, promoted to journeyman, dismissed for sentimentality; lonely in a new school, discovering the satisfaction of being different, becoming a friend. Jennifer, master witch, familiar of Hecate and Macbeth, mentor of Elizabeth; also her fellow fifth grader at William McKinley School, later her friend. . . In the tart Juvenile vernacular of a New York suburb, Elizabeth recounts the rigors and rewards of her apprenticeship: raw eggs and raw onion sandwiches (recipe given); thirteen taboos ("Never cut my hair. . . Never wear shoes in the house on Sundays"); a flying potion compounded of such exotica as snowballs from the deep freeze and fingernail parings. Gradually, Elizabeth comes to resent Jennifer's domination, and when Jennifer is about to drop Hilary Ezra, their pet toad, into the pot of potion, she rebels. The girls part in anger, but come together again on the next-to-the-last page and laugh at their former obfuscations; they are no longer would-be witches, they are just "good friends." Elizabeth, expressing her disgust at pinching relatives and posturing schoolmates, is a self-proclaimed pest and problem to her parents: the reader empathizes immediately. Jennifer, who happens to be Negro, is likely to remain an enigma (of some fascination) to her contemporaries, as she is to Elizabeth. The sudden resolution of their relationship is unconvincing, and the adults are either satirized sharply or borne stoically, but Elizabeth's narrative has considerable pertinence and vitality. With the important difference that the girls do not hurt anyone, this raises some of the questions attending the reception of Harriet the Spy. On balance, we find it a fresh, funny spoof of the adult Establishment and the cliches of conjuring.

Pub Date: March 21, 1967

ISBN: 0786275421

Page Count: 135

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: May 1, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1967

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Playful, engaging, and full of opportunities for empathy—a raucous storytime hit.


From the Who's in Your Book? series

Readers try to dislodge a monster from the pages of this emotive and interactive read-aloud.

“OH NO!” the story starts. “There’s a monster in your book!” The blue, round-headed monster with pink horns and a pink-tipped tail can be seen cheerfully munching on the opening page. “Let’s try to get him out,” declares the narrator. Readers are encouraged to shake, tilt, and spin the book around, while the monster careens around an empty background looking scared and lost. Viewers are exhorted to tickle the monster’s feet, blow on the page, and make a really loud noise. Finally, shockingly, it works: “Now he’s in your room!” But clearly a monster in your book is safer than a monster in your room, so he’s coaxed back into the illustrations and lulled to sleep, curled up under one page and cuddling a bit of another like a child with their blankie. The monster’s entirely cute appearance and clear emotional reactions to his treatment add to the interactive aspect, and some young readers might even resist the instructions to avoid hurting their new pal. Children will be brought along on the monster’s journey, going from excited, noisy, and wiggly to calm and steady (one can hope).

Playful, engaging, and full of opportunities for empathy—a raucous storytime hit. (Picture book. 2-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5247-6456-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: June 5, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2017

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


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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