Impulsive acts, severely tested friendships, and possible witchy curses—all set against the customary backdrop of domestic chaos—presage big changes for Binny and her family.
The wad of cash that Binny spots in an ATM seems at first like a wish come true, considering that her mother’s birthday is coming up and surely the bill for contractor Pete’s repairs to their storm-wracked cottage (Binny in Secret, 2015) will soon be coming due. Unfortunately, joy soon gives way to gnawing guilt—but by the time she resolves to return the money, it’s nowhere to be found. Along with wrecking both house and (temporarily) a friendship with frantic searches and queries, Binny becomes increasingly convinced that eerily attentive neighbor Miss Piper is both a witch and the cause of her misfortunes. All the while little brother James and big sister Clem are suffering through crises of their own, and there is something going on between their widowed mother and Pete. Then there’s Binny’s erstwhile adversary, Gareth, in for a visit and to deliver the tale’s best line: “at school I tell people you’re my girlfriend. Stops them from asking if I’m gay. Do you mind?” With her usual skill and superb comic timing the author brings her all-white cast’s brangles to happy, even joyous resolutions. Ross’ scribbly grayscale illustrations add suitably frantic notes.
Fans will be delighted by these further misadventures of the rumpled but loving—and lovable—Cornwallis clan. (Fiction. 11-13)