A brilliant debut novel by an assured new voice in children's literature Magic, action, suspense and a plot to wipe out the witches of the world For readers aged 7-9
This is Anna Dale's fourth book for Bloomsbury. Whispering to Witches, her first book, sold in twenty-five languages. Anna Dale lives in Southampton.
"Dale makes a sparkling debut with this sprightly novel introducing a 12-year-old who inadvertently becomes tangled in a web of dueling witches," PW wrote. Ages 8-12. (Sept.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Gr 5-7-When his father is called away at Christmas, Joe resigns himself to spending the holiday in Canterbury with his mother, stepdad, and seven-year-old half sister, Esme. After a train ride leaves him stranded at the wrong station, he borrows a large tricycle that seems to have a will of its own. It transports him to the ramshackle headquarters of the somewhat disreputable Dead-nettle Coven. The witch world is in an uproar over the theft of the world's most dangerous spell, and, apparently, somebody thinks that Joe has it. When Esme is kidnapped, he and young witch Twiggy are drawn into the hunt for the missing hex and uncover a plot to destroy the Earth's entire witch population. The incongruous chief villain is a bun-sporting librarian-whose first line actually is "Shh." All the expected fantasy elements are here-a secret, arcane culture coexisting with the mortal sphere, rhymed spells, and magic users with more-or-less good-natured disdain for mortals. The narration relies heavily on flashbacks and expositional dialogue. The settings, both real and fanciful, are convincingly portrayed. There are some mildly humorous touches, but some plot elements don't seem to mesh completely. Joe's discomfort with his second family is emphasized at the beginning, but it plays little role in the action and remains unresolved at the end. Diane Duane's "Young Wizards" series (Harcourt) and Jill Murphy's "Worst Witch" books (Candlewick) have more fully realized magical worlds.-Elaine E. Knight, Lincoln Elementary Schools, IL Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.