Having accidentally transformed three birds into humans, sibling witches must coerce a practical girl to help them reverse the spell, but she proves an unreliable cohort.
The Baldwin sisters keep a low profile in “poky old Wheatfield,” where no one knows they are really witches. By turning an owl and two fledgling sparrows into a man and two boys, the sisters have breached the strict witch code forbidding human transformation and have five days to reverse the spell or the change becomes permanent. Worse, they then lose the ex-owl and one of the ex-sparrows. When the sisters lure 11-year-old Fortuna Dalliance to their suitably spooky house to see if she’s got the right stuff to help them, she’s terrified, but she’s also been itching for excitement. Soon becoming attached to bird-boy Martin, Fortuna hides him so he’ll remain human. Threatened by the local coven and aided by the bird community, the sisters are desperate to find the three missing bird-humans, but Fortuna can’t decide what to do. Like the crones in Dahl’s The Witches, the Baldwin sisters supply sinister humor, while conflicted heroine Fortuna must decide whether to let her friend fly free. Black-and-white spot art adds charm to this contemporary debut fantasy.
Silly witches, transformed birds and a plucky heroine equal “real, live adventure.” (Fantasy. 8-12)