Posts tagged ‘witches’

WITCHES STEW

Lula’s Brew

Written by Elizabeth O. Dulemba

Lula

Lula is a young witch who has a problem. She does not want to be a witch; she wants to be a chef with her own restaurant. Lula hides her cookbooks under her bed. But Lula lives with her four Aunties who are witches dedicated to making Lula a successful witch. At the beginning of the story they are supervising Lula in preparing a brew to cast a magic spell on the town, but Lula sneaks in other ingredients when they are not looking. Soon a delicious aroma wafts across the town and its residents come knocking on the witches door to partake of the brew. When they demand seconds, Lula has an unusual request for them. Lula manages to cast her magic in a most peculiar way.

This tale is beautifully illustrated. The text will have young children laughing. This is a cute Halloween story that is not scary and appropriate for preschoolers and children in the early elementary grades. Makes a nice read aloud in the classroom, bedtime story or a family share to celebrate the holiday.

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A RELUCTANT HEROINE

The Amber Ring (A Novella)

Written by A.L. Walton

AmberRing,pic

This book of approximately one hundred pages might be described as a dark fantasy. There are many traditional fantasy characters like gryphons, trolls, fairies, unicorns and witches. A few others like the Talking Bear Mayor and the satyr sheriff are a bit of a stretch. Then there is a reluctant heroine and her twin sister who is a magical weaver and heroine.

Allow me to summarize the plot briefly. Maya is a rather morose and cynical twelve year old whose twin sister Sofia has recently drowned. Sofia had magical powers along with a magical ring which now belongs to her sister. Two years prior to her death, Sofia had managed to rid the Fairwoods of the trolls under the power of the Cedar Witch. Their lands became peaceful. One day Camden, her sister’s pet gryphon, reappears at the site where Sofia died. He attempts to convince Maya that the Fairwoods are again in danger, and that she is needed to restore peace. Maya has no interest in being a weaver or leaving her comfortable life in Oregon. But she feels guilty and eventually agrees to spend Labor Day weekend with Camden on a quest to find the Morning Stone and restore the balance of power.

Maya loses her backpack to Duskrats, and then travels on to the home of the Maple Witch who feeds them and attempts to show Maya how to weave magic just as Sofia had done in the past. Maya is unsuccessful and frustrated. She and the gryphon will meet up with a unicorn, goblins, a geographer some cobblers, and trolls in their attempts to find the Morning Stone. When Maya finally reaches her destination, she is shocked to find that her heroine sister’s death was not an accident. Maya must now make a decision whether or not to avenge it. Will Maya ever be able to put the tragedy behind her or will she forever be molded by it?

I like the multiculturalism introduced by using Spanish phrases, particularly Maya’s grandmother’s description of her as Hueca (hollow) . That is a good way to explain the way Maya feels about herself at the beginning of the story. As mentioned previously, there are some fantasy elements included that are a stretch with the plot, but all in all, I feel that the short novel will appeal to children ten and older as well as adults who like a quick fantasy read.

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BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR

Hannah and the Kingdom of Bugbears

Written by Tom Steephen

Hannanandthekingdompic

This rather short fantasy adventure of approximately seventy five pages attempts to pack a lot of elements into one story. There are classic fairy tales, witches, soldiers, princes, even animal heroes like mice, penguins and parrots. Strange combination but the story does work for the most part. The language is not complicated though at times a bit forced. There are enough twists and turns to keep a young reader on the edge of his seat, and adults could make this a really exciting read aloud for a young child.

Hannah, our heroine, is the loyal companion of Princess Aleena who has just turned eighteen and is about to marry Prince Ronald of Linesland. Suddenly, the Bugbear army of Prince Brewer appears outside the gates of the castle. They inform King John that their Prince Brewer will marry the princess. The humans of the kingdom of Cait Berg are unable to subdue their scaly and much larger Bugbear enemies. King John’s army is defeated, and the princess is abducted. Hannah manages to sneak away and hide in the carriage transporting the princess. After many trials and tribulations, Hannah finds the princess, who is locked in one of the chambers of the castle. But the princess urges her to go back to their kingdom and get help to rescue her. Hannah bravely consents. She will meet many animal friends and enemies like a witch who tries to prevent her return. Once Hannah arrives home at the castle, she needs to concoct a strategy to rescue the princess from her dilemma.

Why does Prince Brewer want to marry a human princess? The reader does not find out until near the end of the adventure. In the interim many of the characters in the story like Chef Maatia and Prince Brewer learn a lot about themselves and others. Many moral lessons like the value of trust, loyalty, determination and being true to oneself are embedded in the tale.

Most early chapter readers and tweens will find familiar and popular threads in the tale. Seems to be just the right mixture of adventure, fantasy, fairy tale, battle scenes, danger and moral lessons that do not come off as adult preaching. A nice book to spend a couple of hours reading.

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A MAGICAL JOURNEY

Peter, Enchantment and Stardust:The Poems

Written by William O’Brien

William O’ Brien is not only a talented storyteller but a gifted poet as well. This collection of poems is meant to accompany his children’s book, Peter, The Darkened Fairytale. In that story, Peter is the protagonist who must fight and overcome the forces of evil.

In this wonderful poetry collection, the author presents us with a mix of
lighthearted poems that inspire us with hope and love. On the other hand, we meet dragons, demons and witches waiting to snare the unwary child. O’Brien
sets the tone in his first poem, “Drawers and Doors.”

Peter,Enchantmentpic

The thoughts one thinks may not be real
And sometimes they will make you squeal
Biting, scratching, tastes hang true
Inside this book, you’ll meet things new
Must be careful, for if you fall
These evildoers will seize all.

These words present a challenge that most children will be glad to take up! There are silly poems like “Wandering Twondle” and “Cuthbert,” scary poems like “Devil’s Wish” and “Zombie Queen,” and fantasy creature poems titled, “Elves and Goblins,” and “The Vaandorg Dragon.” Some of the nature poems remind me of William Wordsworth.

Spells that dust the sleeping flowers
May just drip with April showers
In summer lands frolic and sing
Still protected by nature’s wing

One thing children always seem oblivious of is the element of time. O’Brien addresses the concept in his poem titled, “Eternal”

Fairy love
Starlight blessed
In your heart
Feel the test

Touch and wander
Your spirit through
Flowers speak
Holding new

Bash of rain
Sleet and snow
Leaves do fall
Please don’t go

Apples, chestnuts
Tease my eyes
Always there
Never dies

The author employs alliteration, personification and metaphors to make the reader feel that she is on a magical journey to a very special place. So close your eyes and lose yourself in the recesses of your mind. Tweens, teens and adults will enjoy the ride.

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