Monday 24 October 2016

How To Catch A Witch by Abie Longstaff

Charlie was dreaming. 
The house was flying through the air, spinning and bumping on the wind. 
She was off to Oz to see the Munchkins.
Here comes Glinda, floating around in a pink bubble saying, "Charlie, Hogwarts is expecting you. Wear your blue-and-white dress."
Then she was falling.
Published by Scholastic in October 2016
Pages - 240
Charlie and her family have moved from the big city to a small country village, and everything feels wrong. Their cottage is old and creepy. Anxiety about her new school is causing Charlie's stutter to return. And the villagers are just plain weird. Not least, Agatha, who may not have a broomstick or a cauldron, but is definitely a witch...
What a gorgeous launch to a  brand new series. I adored How To Catch A Witch from the first line and I didn't want to put it down. Not only is it an entertaining, page turning story, but cleverly hidden within the plot, are lots of interesting facts about the history of witches. You can tell that Abi has carried out thorough research just by how detailed the spells are.  It's like getting two books for the price of one!
The story has that believable factor to it. There's no flying on broomsticks or swishing around with a witch's hat. This book portrays a much more modern approach to witches and magic. 
I loved the main protagonist, Charlie, who really tried hard to cope with her speech impediment and finally could see how it might help her by the end of the book. However my favourite character was definitely Agatha. She radiated the modern day witches I've come across over the years.
Abi writes beautifully. Her descriptive languages sucks you into the story, grabbing hold of you until the very last page. 
The book has a real classical feel to it. It would have been a firm favourite with me as a child and I'm sure it won't be long before the series is loved by the Middle Grade brigade. I knew Abi was a talented picture book writer, but she has definitely made her mark in the Middle Grade bracket. 
 I can't wait for more. Luckily I won't have to wait too long, as the next book, How To Trap A Wolf is featured in the back of the book and will be out in 2017. 

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