With giant spectacles and even more spunk, budding witch Salem Hyde is back, determined to give her friend the best birthday ever.
Tempestuous Salem is a flurry of a girl, always acting first and thinking second. Luckily, her feline companion, Whammy, is there to help keep her grounded and help her use—or, more often, help her undo her use of—her nascent magical powers. When Salem is invited to her friend Edgar’s big birthday bash, she’s beyond excited. However, right from the start, her adversary, the know-it-all Shelly, is determined to upstage her at every turn. Salem decides she’ll give Edgar the best and biggest present ever—with disastrous, magical results. Salem and Whammy are perfect foils, with her whirlwind liveliness balanced by his (semi) calm wisdom. Cammuso keeps the jokes flowing throughout the volume and adroitly weaves them in and out of each narrative section, coming full circle by the end. Line-based art reminiscent of Calvin and Hobbes sets an immediate mood, and the characters’ dramatic facial expressions make a winning complement to the steady stream of chuckle-worthy antics. This volume makes a fine jumping-in point for the series, but readers should also make sure to check out the excellent series opener, Spelling Trouble (2013).
With lots of laughs and lots of heart, this sophomore offering doesn’t disappoint. (Graphic fantasy. 7-10)