Roald Dahl meets Eva Ibbotson in this hilarious middle grade debut
* "Fifth-grader Rupert Campbell lives in a world that combines Roald Dahl’s Witches and Louis Sachar’s Wayside School. Readers will banish themselves from the ordinary world to finish this book in a flash." --Kirkus Reviews, starred review
Rupert Campbell is fascinated by the witches who live nearby. He dreams of broomstick tours and souvenir potions, but the closest he can get to a witchy experience is sitting in class with his awful teacher Mrs. Frabbleknacker, who smells like bellybutton lint and forbids Rupert’s classmates from talking to each other before, during, and after class. So when he sees an ad to become a witch’s apprentice, Rupert simply can’t resist applying. But Witchling Two isn’t exactly what Rupert expected. With a hankering for lollipops and the magical aptitude of a toad, she needs all the help she can get to pass her exams and become a full-fledged witch. She’s determined to help Rupert stand up to dreadful Mrs. Frabbleknacker too, but the witchling's magic will be as useful as a clump of seaweed unless Rupert can figure out a way to help her improve her spellcasting—and fast!
Eleven-year-old Rupert has been told time and again to stay away from the witches in town, but when he sees an advertisement about a witch seeking an apprentice, his curiosity wins out. Rupert is also lonely: he and his classmates live in constant terror of their "super evil" teacher, Mrs. Frabbleknacker, who forbids them from socializing. When the witch from the ad turns out to be a girl Rupert's age, who needs help studying for her bar exam, Rupert agrees. The witch community is immediately up in arms over a human becoming involved in their business, which leads to a chaotic confrontation with the Witches Council and its leader, the Fairfoul Witch. Magaziner's debut has echoes of Dahl's Matilda, as it pits "helpless" children against an over-the-top villain. The same goofy charm that Magaziner brings to the names of characters and settings (Mrs. Gummyum, Yammerstop Way) carries through to the details of witch life and logic in the town of Gliverstoll, resulting in a fun, frothy story that will, well, charm its readers. Ages 8 12.