Hollowstone Hill’s magic (Lawn Mower Magic, 2012, etc.) returns in grasshoppers that, when fried and eaten, give Abner Willow an unexpected bounce.
Abner needs to practice bravery in order to lead the annual Willow Days parade, costumed as the ancestor for whom he was named. The costumer, Mrs. Delgado, has assured the four Willow children that the grasshoppers they’ve caught are a delicacy in her home country and cooks them up for lunch. Both Abner and Tate try the baked versions. Soon they are exploring the advantages and disadvantages of being able to leap 20 times their height. When they realize that Mrs. Delgado’s 2-year-old will also be bouncing uncontrollably, they set off to forestall an inevitable catastrophe, but the rescue is not what readers may have expected. Still, family teamwork triumphs again. This latest in a series which began with Hamster Magic (2010) stands alone well, with energy, humor and just enough suspense to carry readers along. Occasional grayscale illustrations will support the story. (Final art not seen.) The third-person narration includes plenty of dialogue and enough yuck factor to please any 8-year-old. But with the children’s ages and grades unstated in this title, both early able readers and older struggling ones will find someone to identify with.
With Celia, Derek and Abner all having played starring roles in the series, fans will be eager for Tate’s turn. (Magical adventure. 6-9)