First Broom

Scholastic. Jun. 2022. 24p. pap. $7.99. ISBN 9781338803921.
PreS-Gr 1–An eager young Black witch mounts her broom for the very first time, hoping to ride through the air with the older, wiser witches. Unfortunately, her inexperience leads to a difficult takeoff, and the mischievous broom breaks free, leading her on a wild goose chase into a nearby pond. With a little resilience, she gets up and tries again, this time successfully taking off and soaring. Murray provides the plucky heroine with a visual link to her environment by clothing her in jewel-bright pinks and purples, warm yellows, and cool turquoise, all hues found in the enchanting twilight world around her. George’s rhyming quatrains, however, begin to feel repetitive (nearly all beginning with either “Little witch” or “Little broom”), the predictable rhythm of the lines contributing to the sense of monotony. For a lyrically stronger treatment of a similar premise, see Alison McGhee and Taeeun Yoo’s Only a Witch Can Fly.
VERDICT The art will appeal to young readers in this poetically lackluster but visually sparkling execution of an enchanting premise.

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