September 24, 2009

Review: The Witch's Guide to Cooking with Children by Keith McGowan

In this modern retelling of Hansel and Gretel Sol and Connie Blink move to the town of Schoneberg with their Dad and step-mom. Sol is an 11-year-old whiz kid who looks after his trouble making eight-year-old sister and together they set out to explore the neighborhood.

Little do they know that their Dad and step-mom have an ulterior motive behind moving to Schoneberg and when Sol meets neighbor Fay Holaderry, he has his suspicions about the kind of bone her dog is gnawing on.

Determined to get to the bottom of the situation they discover Fay’s journal and it soon becomes clear what their Dad has planned but will they make it out alive before it’s too late?

The Witch’s Guide to Cooking with Children reminds me of the Goosebumps books that my son and I used to read. It was a very light scary story toned way down for kids. Spaced throughout the book we get to read little bits of the witch’s journal and I really enjoyed those sections since they were whimsical enough to get a chuckle.

I did think the story was a little bit choppy and it didn’t flow well in some parts but I don’t think younger readers would notice or mind that at all. The illustrations by Yoko Tanaka were very well done. The kids faces were a little bit creepy looking but it matched the tone of the story well. Overall this is a recommended read for kids aged 10 and up.

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