Friday, July 17, 2009

Clover Twig and the Magical Cottage by Kaye Umansky, illustrated by Johanna Wright

Clover Twig is the organizer, the tidy one, the one who takes charge in a large and messy family. When she starts working for the local witch, Mrs. Eckles, she will need all of these qualities - and more - to make it through her first week!

Clover Twig is a brisk and cheerful heroine, always ready with ideas, cleaning supplies, and common sense. Her tidiness is frequently endangered by the unbelievably clumsy and accident-prone Wilf, but she likes him anyways. Mostly.

The plot is as tidy and well-constructed as Clover Twig's newly cleaned witch's cottage and the characters are fun and memorable. Mrs. Eckles is as endearing a personality as Clover Twig, although she's not without her little secrets. The villains are satisfyingly villainous without being cartoonish and the plot twists and turns are funny and exciting.

Oh, and my only complaint is the cover. If we could have fewer covers featuring girls, it would be easier to get boys reading fun books like this! The British cover is better, although it gives away the plot rather badly. Just my opinion.

Verdict: An excellent step-up from beginning chapter books. Fans of Suzanne Selfors, Angie Sage, and Katie Speck will enjoy this story.

ISBN: 978-1596435070; Published August 2009 by Roaring Brook; ARC provided by publisher at ALA 2009; Purchased for the library; Added to my personal wishlist

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