Title: A Witch’s Kitchen
Author: Dianna Sanchez
Published: September, 2016
Note: I received a review copy of this book from the publisher. Receipt of a review copy does not guarantee a review, or have any bearing on the review if one is posted. I only review books that are I recommend, and that are within the particular scope of the blog.
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Millie’s a witch, so why can’t she do magic?
Despite her mother’s best efforts to teach her, every spell Millie tries goes horribly wrong, but she’s a fabulous cook. When Millie conjures chocolate sauce instead of a transformation potion, her mother gives up and sends her to the Enchanted Forest School, where she’s bullied by goblins, snubbed by an elf, and has her hat stolen. Even as Millie’s magical talent begins to develop, turning her house ghost into a frog and accidentally charming her entire class, Millie starts to wonder: what if she’s not a witch at all? To find out, she and her new friends embark on a dangerous quest to find Millie’s father in the Logical Realm, in contemporary Salem, MA.
Deep in a fantasy realm adjacent to our own, the Enchanted Forest School is located in the branches of an enormous oak tree and has a dragon for a headmistress. Millie’s initial delight in attending school rapidly fades as she struggles in the unfamiliar social environment, encountering fellow students of magical races, making new friends, and discovering that her mother’s style of magic isn’t the only one available.
A Witch’s Kitchen is a delightful 54,000 word middle grade novel
Characterization and badassery
Millie’s 11, and afraid of her talented witch of a mother. (No really, she’s a witch, with all the warts and stuff.) Millie rises to the occasion, though, and finds her own kind of talent. Even as young as she is, she has a point of view, a passion, and a sense of self, which is refreshing to see in a book for young people.
Plot and pacing
The plot isn’t overly simplistic, and it makes its point. The pace does just fine. Even though it’s a children’s book, I found myself entertained.
Prose and editing
Well done, a professionally done book. The setting is well defined, and the worldbuilding excellently described and executed.
There’s some cute humor, both for young people and some humor that adults can also enjoy. It strikes the right tone for the story and the age group.
I quite enjoyed A Witch’s Kitchen. Though it’s a book for young readers, I found it a refreshing change of pace from my typical fare. Sometimes reading something a bit different is a great palate cleanser, and this book really hit the spot.