A back-to-school shopping trip highlights the differences in style between a young witch and her more conservative mother.
Witches R Us, with its “Back to Ghoul Sale,” is the store to visit to get all the items on the Picky Little Witch’s school-supply list: cape, hat, boots, broom, cauldron, cat and several spell ingredients. But Mama’s tastes are way too plain or tight or splintery for the little witch who knows her likes and dislikes. Just when it seems as if the mother and daughter won’t agree on anything, a saleslady’s kitten intervention points the way toward compromise. Small details in the illustrations will keep readers engaged: Brooms occupy the parking spaces of the shopping plaza, whose stores include Ice Scream and Potions, and Harry Potter fans can’t help but think of Diagon Alley. But the overall package, while amusing, is amateurish in both text and artwork. A spiky typeface and small font make it difficult to read the text, which haphazardly (and distractingly) switches from snappy rhyming verses to plain text. Expressions and body language are both stiff, and though the palette relies heavily on witchy purples and greens, the illustrations otherwise have the appearance of early television cartoons.
School-supply battles like this one aren’t likely to occur among the picture-book set: skip. (Picture book. 5-8)