Book Review: Witch for a Week


Witch for a Week

Written by Kaye Umansky

Illustrated by Ashley King

182 pages

Published by Simon and Schuster UK

Publication date: 5th October 2017

Summary (from Goodreads):
‘A Bewitching tale, charmingly told and is certain to delight any witch in the making’ M.G, Leonard, award-winning author of Beetle Boy
‘A gorgeous story that bubbles with charm, wit and magic’ Abi Elphinstone, author of The Dreamsnatcher
‘Bursting with memorable characters, a huge sense of fun and a big dollop of honey, flowers and strawberry-scented magic!’ Joe Berger, author of Lyttle Lies and Hubble Bubble
‘A sulky raven, a grubby dog and a common-sense heroine with a strong sense of customer service. This is a funny, magical treat!’ Holly Webb, author of Lost in the Snow

When Elsie Pickles offers to house-sit the mysterious home of local witch Magenta Sharp, she has no idea what she’s getting herself into. Left with a talking raven and a scruffy dog for company, a magical tower that has a mind of its own and a book of instruction called Everything You Need to Know, what could possibly go wrong?

With an assortment of weird and wonderful neighbours banging at the door and a box of volatile magical ingredients that must be used immediately, Elsie finds out that looking after Magenta’s home might not be as easy as she first thought … does she have what it takes to be a witch for a week or will it all end in a magical disaster?

A new magical adventure from Kaye Umansky, the bestselling author of the spellbinding children’s classic Pongwiffy, brought to life with charming illustrations from rising star Ashley King!

Elsie Pickles was minding the family shop when the witch blew into town.

The town was called Smallbridge, because it was small and had a bridge. The bridge spanned a sluggish river called the Dribble. Like the river, life in Smallbridge trickled on with calm monotony. It was a dull little town where people went to bed early because there was nothing else to do.

First impressions: If you are a regular visitor to this blog, you will know that I’ve already established how much I enjoy books about witches, so I had to pick this one up! Despite not having read the Pongwiffy series by this author, I really liked the sound of this immediately from the summary. I am so glad that I have read this as I loved every minute!
This book was such a fun, fast-paced and engaging read.
Elsie Pickles lives in Smallbridge, (so named, of course, because it is small and has a bridge), where ‘people go to bed early because there’s nothing else to do’. Until, one day, the local witch needs a caretaker for her tower in the deep, dark forest, while she goes to visit her sister and Elsie decides to give it a go. What could possibly go wrong…?

This story would be a great read for anyone who has previously enjoyed Witch Wars, How to Catch a Witch, Mirror Magic or similar adventures. It reminded me of the Chrestomanci books by Diana Wynne Jones and Eva Ibbotson’s children’s books with its irreverent, yet warm feeling.
I, for one, am already looking forward to the next book!

Crookfinger Forest was no sun-speckled wood. It was old, dark and scary and it went on forever. Nobody walked dogs there, or went looking for blackberries. Children were forbidden to venture into the trees. And the forest was full of wolves. At night, you could hear them howling.

Elsie gazed into the wall of dark trees. There was no proper path to follow. No gates or signposts.

We’ll find you.’ Those had been the witch’s words.

Right, thought Elsie, Plunge in and hope for the best. That’s how most adventures start.

What I liked: This fun read just galloped past! I loved how each character was given their due, despite the speed of the plot, especially the grumpy talking raven
Even better if: I have been looking around for the promised sequel but have yet to lay my eyes on it…I want more!
How you could use it in your classroom: This would be a great read-aloud for a Year 2,3 or 4 class, as well as an independent reader for Year 3 upwards. This would be a good recommendation for anyone who has previously enjoyed Witch Wars, Mirror Magic or similar adventures.

(Thank you to my local library for ordering in a copy for me!)

While you’re here, why not check out my reviews of How to Catch a Witch, Bookshop Girl, Wolf Children or The Company of Eight?

Find me on Twitter , Goodreads or Instagram

Thanks for reading!

12 Comments Add yours

  1. Our ml home says:

    Another great recommendation for my daughter! Thank you Christina πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The second book just came out! I am really excited to read it!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Our ml home says:

        I’ll definitely keep it on my shopping list! I love sequels and series are such a good way to get kids hooked to reading!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. This is still a fairly new series, but I am hoping that it will turn into a long one! πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh this sounds so much fun! I too enjoy witches in my books! A lot! Great review

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I really enjoyed this and the second book in the series has just been published. Hope you like it!


  3. This does sound like a fun chapter book – I’ll have to keep an eye out for it. Thanks for the review!


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