IBBY’S MAGIC WEEKEND

No one believes in magic, right? What is Ibby to think, then, when her cousin Francis shrinks to the size of a mouse and Cousin Alex levitates out the window and out of sight? There is more to solve than how to return Francis to normal size and get Alex safely home again, because with five more tricks in the beginner’s magic kit and her daring cousins determined to do them all, Ibby is going in all directions at once to help, until a bigger mystery arises. Where is her Uncle Godfrey, a professional magician who has been missing for years, a mystery that will require all their focus to solve? Readers will be carried away by the scrim of danger in Dyer’s fast-paced text and will relate to the likable characters who are as real as their own crazy acquaintances. The line drawings are perfectly pitched to characterization and events, capturing the characters mid-action and the absolute hilarity that is involved. Just right for a fun family read-aloud with fast adventure and a familiar familial world, this ebullient adventure will have readers laughing out loud while working out the mystery for themselves. (Fiction. 7-9)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2008

ISBN: 978-0-545-03209-4

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Chicken House/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2007

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Italics and exclamation points may be overused, but this new humorous series is full of gently amusing magical surprises.

THE SUPER-SPOOKY FRIGHT NIGHT!

From the Hubble Bubble series , Vol. 1

Shades of Bewitched, the old TV show featuring a witch married to a regular guy.

This new chapter-book series stars Pandora, a white girl with two grandmas—the good witch, Granny Crow, in a patterned minidress, whose magical powers enliven any party or school outing, and Granny Podmore, in her cardigan and plaid skirt, a kind but stereotypical grandmother who cleans and cooks. Pandora’s friends include Nellie, a black girl, and Nellie’s mom is also depicted as black in the exuberant line drawings with gray washes. The three chapterlong adventures are rather tame, meant for readers who want fun rather than fright. In “The Super-Spooky Fright Night!” (all titles have exclamation points), the two grandmothers host a Halloween party. Granny Crow creates “bat-shaped cookies that hung around the bowls, and a custard cat (that actually meowed!).” Granny Podmore makes “the neatest swans” from napkins. Granny Crow conjures up musical broomsticks when Granny Podmore wants to introduce musical chairs. The evening ends happily when Granny Podmore uses Ollie, her vacuum cleaner, to suck up little pumpkins from Granny Crow’s pumpkin pop gone wild. Only Granny Crow appears in the other stories, making teddy bears come alive to give a “teddy bears’ picnic!” and causing a nasty teacher to accidentally cast a spell that turns a school swimming lesson into utter chaos.

Italics and exclamation points may be overused, but this new humorous series is full of gently amusing magical surprises. (Fantasy. 7-9)

Pub Date: Aug. 23, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-7636-8653-6

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Nosy Crow/Candlewick

Review Posted Online: June 1, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2016

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Earwig, as a spunky as any Jones heroine, keeps young and old readers chuckling through sadness at an era's end

EARWIG AND THE WITCH

A cunning heroine learns magic in Jones' last, posthumous offering.

Most children hate orphanages, but Earwig—Erica Wigg, according to her birth certificate—loves hers. Earwig manages people to perfection, and everyone at Saint Morwald's Home for Children does exactly what Earwig wants, whether it's making her a shepherd's pie or buying her a new red sweater. She's excellent at making herself unlovable to potential foster parents so they'll leave her alone in sunny St. Morwald's. But a terrible new pair of prospective parents arrives at the home: nasty-faced Bella Yaga and the Mandrake, a ridiculously tall man who seems to have horns. Bella Yaga and the Mandrake cart Earwig off, willy-nilly, to powder rats' bones and cook breakfast. Indomitable Earwig determines that if she must work for a smelly witch, at least she'll learn magic. But how to do so when wicked Bella Yaga keeps threatening to give her worms? Moreover, no matter what, Earwig has been warned not to disturb the Mandrake, who trucks with demons. Earwig, illustrated with marvelous vitality by Zelinsky, is not to be trifled with. There's just the right level of grotesquerie and scariness (worms that are "blue and purple and very wriggly") in this utterly charming chapter book.

Earwig, as a spunky as any Jones heroine, keeps young and old readers chuckling through sadness at an era's end . (Fantasy. 7-9)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-06-207511-6

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Greenwillow

Review Posted Online: Nov. 2, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2011

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