Friday, July 26, 2019

Review - Clever Little Witch

Clever Little Witch
by Mượn Thị Văn
illustrated by Hyewon Yum
Date: 2019
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Reading level: C
Book type: picture book
Pages: 40
Format: e-book
Source: library

Magical mayhem and hilarity ensue when a clever little witch tries to turn her baby brother into a goldfish in this funny and imaginative picture book about sibling rivalry.

Little Linh is the cleverest little witch on Mãi Mãi island. She has everything she could need: a trusty broomstick, a powerful spell book, and a magical pet mouse. She also has a new brother named Baby Phu, and she does not like him one bit. He crashes her broomstick, eats pages out of her spell book, and keeps her up all night. Little Linh tried giving Baby Phu away, but nobody will take him, not even the Orphanage for Lost and Magical Creatures.

So, she’ll just have to try something else…like turning him into a goldfish. The only problem is, Baby Phu ate the second half of the spell. Still, there’s a reason Little Linh is the cleverest little witch. She can guess the second half of the spell…but it might take a few tries.

(synopsis from Goodreads)

This is a cute story about sibling rivalry. Little Linh considers herself to be a clever witch. But there's one thing she can't stand, and that's her baby brother. He rides her broomstick without permission, eats pages out of her spell book, and uses her magical mouse as a flashlight. So Linh decides to turn him into something a little less annoying. Something like... a goldfish. But when it comes time to actually do the spell, she realizes that her brother has eaten part of the page with the spell on it. She does the spell anyway... with unexpected results. And, eventually, Linh learns that baby brothers might be good for something after all.

Kids (especially those plagued by younger siblings) will probably appreciate Linh's attempts to get her baby brother out of her hair. Those attempts are pretty amusing. I'm not sure I love the ending of this one, though; it seems kind of convenient and isn't explained. But I guess it's magic, so you just have to go with it.

The illustrations are cute and colourful. The pages where Linh tries to give away her baby brother are some of the most amusing (especially the ones featuring the Orphanage for Lost and Magical Creatures).

This is a fun picture book with a fairly innocuous storyline and some amusing elements. While it's not my favourite book about little witches (Patricia Coombs's Dorrie books are hard to beat), it's not bad, especially for younger children.

Quotable moment:

I aimed my wand at my brother and said, "From the tip of your nose to the top of your toes, bubble eyes, marble size, let me see those fishy eyes!"

Premise: 3/5
Meter: n/a
Writing: 3/5
Illustrations: 3/5
Originality: 4/5

Enjoyment: 4/5

Overall: 3.5 out of 5

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