Witch in Winter Review

Witch in Winter by Kaye Umansky. Illustrated by Ashley King

Rating: MoonKestrel Logo2 20px MoonKestrel Logo2 20px MoonKestrel Logo2 20px MoonKestrel Logo2 20px MoonKestrel Logo2 20px

This is the last one of the Elsie Pickles books that are out there for now, and I just wish there were more. I had such a blast reading through the series as part of the #Februwitchy readathon. They are magical, fun and really cute.

I would’ve loved them as a child and read them over and over until the book fell apart. That kind of delightful and fun that they are.

Some of my faovurite things about them, and it applies particularly well for the things that happen in Witch in Winter, is that Elsie has a very small repertoire of magic, she only knows a few spells and none of them are the kind of spells that are impressive or anything special. They’d be classified as “child’s play” type of things. But somehow, she finds creative ways of making use of them and leveraging them to help her friends.

In Witch in Winter, it seems winter has been to long, there is just too much snow and Magenta has gone missing. And someone seems to be wanting to take over the Tower, so Elsie gets involved to try to see how to help. And she does very well, once again, making the best of the things she has at hand and her customer service skills.

Aggie/Silvine does well in this one too, leveraging her odd parts accidentally (everything is technically an accident with her) to make new friends and somehow get things to work out way better for everyone while Elsie saves the Tower from the mysterious one that may have caused Magenta to disappear.

Don’t want to spoil all the fun but I enjoyed it, thought it was a great follow up to Witches (Un)Welcome! and just want to know more fun and more adventures with Elsie and her crew of friends.

Each character is developing better into their own space and identity with their specific strengths and weaknesses and it is nice to see them not being cookie cutter characters but unique and very “human” in their own way (or as human as they can be).

Once again highly recommended for all ages!

Witches (Un)Welcome! Review

Witches (Un)Welcome! by Kaye Umansky. Illustrated by Ashley King.

Rating: MoonKestrel Logo2 20px MoonKestrel Logo2 20px MoonKestrel Logo2 20px MoonKestrel Logo2 20px MoonKestrel Logo2 20px

The third book in the series of Elsie Pickles. If you’ve been following my reviews, I read them for #Februwitchy. I had bought the first two and wasn’t sure if I’d like them, but I did, so after finishing the first I ordered this and the fourth one (that’ll be the next review out).

The whole series if lighthearted and fun and witchy but also it is about customer service and how to interact with others.

In this particular book, Magenta, who in the previous one had her shop almost close, decides that a better way to deal with having a shop is to have a physical one rather than mail order. Less complaints through the mail, less postage, etc. But she’s not really a people person.

She doesn’t take this into consideration, and using a gift from her sister that allows her to do a shortcut for magic, sets up a magical shop in Smallbridge, where Elsie lives.

This is not exactly welcome news for the villagers who have a split in their views towards witches. And so chaos and crazy things ensue. The fact that the shop is there means it attracts magical folk, and they find the town quaint and decide to set up shop too, maybe offer their own wares, which is quite disruptive and confusing for the people in town.

Of course, Elsie, being a people person and knowing her customer service rules saves the day and surprisingly, Silvine/Aggie does too in her own chaotic clumsy way.

It was lots of fun, with a tiny bit of cringe for Silvine (I don’t think I’ll ever not feel a bit of “oh gosh, damn” for her), but still, I read it in an afternoon after dinner and enjoyed it thoroughly.

Can still recommend it alongside the previous two. Fun for read aloud, fun for young readers, fun for older readers…

Picklewitch & Jack and the Cuckoo Cousin Review

Picklewitch & Jack and the Cuckoo Cousin by Claire Barker

Rating: MoonKestrel Logo2 20px MoonKestrel Logo2 20px MoonKestrel Logo2 20px MoonKestrel Logo2 20px

This is the sequel to Picklewitch & Jack, I read both for #Februwitchy, and I have to say I enjoyed this one a little more than the first one. Maybe because Jack and Picklewitch have eased into a better interaction and relationship.

And they are getting into a pattern, despite Picklewitch being unpredictable and easily bored still. But she is fun and Jack is ahppy they are friends, and she respects his boundaries better. But then she gets a letter about her cousin visiting and she gets all excited and ready to be with the cousin.

Jack gets a little jealous and also terribly worried because if Picklewitch was enough to handle, a cousin can only mean more trouble, right? So it is a big surprise when the cousin turns out to be a very well behaved boy who is also very knowledgable and seems to fit almost perfectly at the school.

He doesn’t disrupt things like Picklewitch, barely uses magic and seems to good to be true. And that is exactly what it is, too good to be true.

It was fun to see the creative and clever plans Picklewitch and Jack devise (some on the spot) to try to fix the chaos that is happening due to the truth behind who the couisn is. And it just made their relationship more valuable to both of them as they each got jealous of the other having a better friendship with the cousin.

I can happily recommend this as a fun witchy book which made me laugh and feel happy after finishing it.

Hicotea Review

Hicotea by Lorena Alvarez

On a school field trip to the river, Sandy wanders away from her classmates and discovers an empty turtle shell. Peeking through the dark hole, she suddenly finds herself within a magical realm. Filled with sculptures, paintings and books, the turtle’s shell is a museum of the natural world. But one painting is incomplete, and the turtle needs Sandy’s help to finish it.

Rating: MoonKestrel Logo2 20px MoonKestrel Logo2 20px MoonKestrel Logo2 20px MoonKestrel Logo2 20px

This was in my wishlist and the gorgeous Lauren from Northern Plunder gifted it to me for Christmas (go give her a follow and a read, she’s awesome). And of course it was a great read.

The artwork is vibrant and full of colours that make me think of dreams and ideas (not in a sleepy way), and the story shifts between reality and imagination and it is one of my favourite things as you can see the interactions and how they affect Sandy and make it real to her rather than what an adult would say is just her imagination.

In this second book, Sandy is trying to work on a project for school where they travel to a forest and have to wrtie about the experience. She finds a turtle shell and this plunges her into a magical world where things are slowly falling apart and Sandy tries to help.

Same as with Nightlights, it has a scary component, and imagination goes rampant on the pages but it is a gorgoeusly odd tale that I enjoyed a lot. I cna only recommend this one and the previous one. However, you do not need to have read the previous book to understand this one. It is still recommended because it shows a bit more of Sandy and her imagination.

The Chicken Thief Review

The Chicken Thief by Béatrice Rodríguez

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A friend I’ve known since we were 14 or so, was in Spain and made a small trip to come see me in the UK (we’re both from Mexico). On the last day she was here, she gifted us (husband and I) this book. I teared up a little.

For starters, this is about a fox “stealing” a chicken. We keep chickens and my logo is a fox. No need to say more, right? This book has no words in it, a language agnostic book. All of it is pictures and the pictures do their job amazingly well.

Our fox steals the chicken and runs away, when ehr friends find out they pursue them. And so goes th story as they are being pursued so the chicken can be rescued. But does the chicken need rescuing?

It is a gorgeous book, the artwork is brilliant, the story is very well doen and as mentioned, not even need for words. And well, it questions preconceptions and assumptions on others very well, plus choices and reactions to things.

I highly recommend it because it is a sweet one and charming.

Wish Review

Wish by Chris Saunders

Wish is a story about the power of kindness and the magic of friendship.

Rabbit has never had a wish before but one day he gets not one, but three! He asks his friends what they would do if they had a wish to get ideas. He hears their ideas, but what does he want?

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I got this as a Christmas gift. It was on my wishlist for a while as I like having some children’s books to read sometimes when I want to read but don’t have the energy to fully commit to an older book. But with pictures it is easier and just nice.

Wish is about a bunny rabbit who gets three wishes and he isn’t sure what to wish for. So he goes around and asks his friends, and they each tell him their wishes and what they would like. Adventures, nice things, all of them very unique to each of the friends, but none of them seem to be exactly what the little rabbit wants to wish for.

So when he makes his wishes, he finds out sometimes wishes can be good and shared. It is a cute story with soft artwork, the kind that makes you believe in wishes and just makes you feel warm inside.

All in all, it was a lovely gift and it was a good book to cuddle with after being tired from all the festivities. Something to relax with and just enjoy and smile about.

The Okay Witch Review

The Okay Witch by Emma Steinkellner

Magic is harder than it looks.

Thirteen-year-old Moth Hush loves all things witchy. But she’s about to discover that witches aren’t just the stuff of movies, books, and spooky stories. When some eighth-grade bullies try to ruin her Halloween, something really strange happens. It turns out that Founder’s Bluff, Massachusetts, has a centuries-old history of witch drama. And, surprise: Moth’s family is at the center of it all! When Moth’s new powers show up, things get totally out-of-control. She meets a talking cat, falls into an enchanted diary, and unlocks a hidden witch world. Secrets surface from generations past as Moth unravels the complicated legacy at the heart of her town, her family, and herself.

Rating: MoonKestrel Logo2 20px MoonKestrel Logo2 20px MoonKestrel Logo2 20px MoonKestrel Logo2 20px

This book that I sadly haven’t seen anyone raving about is a hidden gem. It’s a graphic novel with cute artwork, and lots of coming into your magic, plus small town vibes and school shenanigans!

Moth loves everything that is magical and witchy, but that means she’s a little out of the main circle in school. However as she makes a new friend because she is friendly, she accidentally comes into magic powers. And boy, they are interesting and scary and also, magic is hard!

Not to spoil anythign but Moth lives in a small town that was really against witches, there is a talking cat, and there is a school play, Moth’s friend trying to impress his father (mysterious character that the father is), and then Moth’s own mother is keeping some really interesting secrets of her own.

But none of that will stop Moth from trying to learn how to do magic and use it better than by accident! She is one determined girl and this is a fun read full of joy, adventure, crazy stuff and bucketfuls of magic and history.

Highly recommended if you like empowering books about preteens/teens coming of age and finding powers, if you like magic, and friendship and family. It’s a really lovely book.