Broomsticks and The Halloween Spirit
by Sean McHugh & Katie McHugh Parker
received from the publisher (Diversion Press) for an honest review, not my normal age read, but it was enjoyable, that is for sure. 🙂
This was a super cute middle grade books set in a boarding school, about a girl who finds out she is a witch and that there are some others like her.
By Sean McHugh & Katie McHugh Parker
This is a very cute middle grade book about Pocky, a nine year old girl who lives with her grandmother. She is just entering the Asher School for Gifted Children, a boarding school close to her house. Pocky is bright, which is how she was able to get a scholarship to Asher, precocious and just happens to be a witch. Because she is new to the school she has to make friends and because she is on scholarship she doesn’t fit in with the rich kids who dominate the student body.
Pocky makes friends, deals with bullies, meets another boy who also has magic and was raised in a magical family and begins training with him. Stamp is a 9-year old with a goatee and is in the drama program who feels normal humans are beneath him and knows everything there is to know about magic. Pocky grounds him a bit and teaches him that humans aren’t as bad as he thought and gives him love and friendship he has never known. Pocky makes really good decisions, even when faced with difficult times. She is loyal and strong, though gets her feelings hurt a time or two, she is empathetic and knows how to diffuse a situation.
There are misunderstandings, apologies and the normal give and take of friendships. It is cute and sweet and funny with movie and TV references many MG kids won’t get, but their parents will.
“What, does a house have to fall on you?” He leaned over to Pocky and whispered in her ear. “I know you’re a WITCH!” (pg 11)
The other thing I like about this book is that the language is not dumbed down. The ideas are complex though told simply and the words might need to be looked up, especially the magical ones, though with this Harry Potter generation, maybe not so much!
I think my nieces will like these very much! At only 60 or so pages and with short chapters, each with a cute picture of one of the main characters, it isn’t too daunting for even my book-phobic niece. Great Halloween/fall read.
The adventures of Stamp and Pocky continue in this fun little book. Stamp has never done the normal human Halloween things before, bobbing for apples and trick or treating. So Pocky really wants to share them with him but he is insistent on going home to celebrate with his parents. So Pocky and her friends, Brooklyn and Maggie decide to decorate for the class Halloween party at a haunted theater. Maggie is afraid of the possible ghost but helps anyway, only to be frightened by bullies who are being mean.
This book is about enjoying your friends and standing up to bullies, how to be understanding and help your friends by being sensitive to their needs. Again, the authors fill this book with moral lessons without smacking you upside the head with them. There really is a ghost, but it isn’t scary, just misunderstood.
Stamp’s parents went on vacation without him so Pocky gets to bring trick-or-treating and it is funny, his misunderstanding of the whole action along with his reactions to people trying to scare him. The kids go as themselves, I am surprised they aren’t called on that while trick-or-treating, but hey, Stamp with his goatee looks like he has dressed up. Sensitive readers will understand how little family love and guidance Stamp receives and how much he needs and grows from Pocky’s friendship and caring.
All in all, another hit for middle grade readers. The book is around 55 pages, and each chapter is around 5 pages long. There are super cute cartoon illustrations of the characters at the beginning of each chapter. So cute I want to try to draw them myself! A great Halloween read with caring, sensitive lead characters, funny misunderstandings of our American traditions and some supernatural mischief. I really think my 10 year old niece is going to enjoy this!