The Witchling’s Wish

Bloomsbury. Jul. 2022. 32p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781547609062.
PreS-Gr 1–Little Witchling, pale-skinned and peachy-cheeked with straight black hair, lives all alone in her cave “above the misty mountains, below the glowing moon,” and has only one wish: for a friend. But when she tries to “magic” a friend, her spell needs one more ingredient—the hair from a bear! Little does she know the perfect last hair is waiting not on a fierce bear, but on a little girl’s favorite teddy. Can she bring herself to take it from a small girl, Lola (who has brown skin with curly black hair)? Fraser’s (The Littlest Yak) rhyming text has enough surprises to make readers chuckle and just enough poignancy to make them sigh. The simple plot allows Massini’s illustrations, done in watercolor, pencil, printed pattern collage, and Photoshop, to shine. The pages swirl with magical details—a bat, an owl, a cauldron, a boot—while readers follow Little Witch’s oversized glowing green hat through the story. The book design itself is outstanding. The text reads like poetry that’s all but tangible as words drip, drip, drip down the page, whirl around the cauldron, and whoosh off into the night.
VERDICT Delightful, poignant, sweet, and funny, this deceptively simple book will have readers spellbound. Recommended.

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