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by Katja Frixe ; illustrated by Florentine Prechtel ; translated by Ruth Ahmedzai Kemp

Pub Date: June 6th, 2021
ISBN: 978-1-78607-866-7
Publisher: Rock the Boat/Oneworld

The charming proprietor of Mrs. Owl’s Bookshop magically supplies customers with just the book they need.

It is Clara’s favorite place. Books seem to be alive and aware, and only Mrs. Owl and Clara can hear Mr. King, a talking mirror, and Gustaf the rhyming cat, whose pronouncements are surprisingly appropriate and helpful. And there’s always chocolate to make things better. When her best friend, Lottie, moves away due to her parents’ divorce, Clara is forlorn. Now she must deal with bullies on her own, and she must adjust to the new boy who becomes her seatmate at school. But worst of all, her new teacher is the woman for whom Lottie’s father left his family. Clara’s family and her friends at the bookstore are loving and supportive, providing encouragement and practical advice. But there is also trouble at the bookstore, where the villain of the piece tries to damage the business with dirty tricks. Via Kemp’s translation from the original German, Clara tells her own story in a conversational, British-inflected tone that will engage readers’ sympathy. The characters, who seem to be white, are wonderfully eccentric. There is plenty of action, angst, and fun as well as imaginative, sometimes hilarious magic. Friendly, informal black-and-white cartoons that enhance the fun are sprinkled throughout. There’s a happy, satisfying, if not perfect ending that will have readers glad for Clara.

A lovely mixture of friends and family and more than a touch of magic.

(discussion questions) (Fantasy. 8-12)