Clever Little Witch

Margaret K. McElderry. Jul. 2019. 40p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781481481717.
PreS-Gr 1–Little Linh, the self-proclaimed “cleverest little witch on Mãi Mãi Island” has everything a witch needs—a broomstick, a book of spells, and a cute winged mouse familiar. Unfortunately, she also has a pesky toddler brother who wreaks havoc flying on Linh’s broomstick, chews up her book of spells, and uses her magic pet to keep her up at night. To rid herself of the nuisance, she offers up Baby Phu to other magical denizens of the island but they want nothing to do with him. Exasperated, the little witch decides to turn him into a goldfish and discovers that half of the spell page has been eaten by Phu. Efforts to improvise the second half turn the little terror into a frog, a seal, and finally a dragon who, in the end, saves his older sister from a fall. Yum’s cheerful acrylic gouache and color pencil illustrations depict a pleasant island setting with serene ocean and palm trees contrasts with the characters’ cartoonishly expressive faces that radiate mischief, annoyance, alarm, and occasional contentment.
VERDICT A magical and humorous, but entirely relatable tale of sibling rivalry (and reconciliation).

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