Desplechin, Marie. Poor Little Witch Girl. Bloomsbury, 2007. ISBN 9781599901282. 144 p.
Reviewer: Kate Reynolds
Reading Level: Intermediate
Rating: Significant shortcomings
Genre: Fantasy stories;
Subject: Witchcraft--Juvenile fiction; Mothers and daughters--Juvenile fiction; Grandmothers--Juvenile fiction; Interpersonal relations--Juvenile fiction; Books--Reviews;
Eleven-year-old Verbena hates the fact that she is destined to be a witch. She and her mother don't see eye to eye on their plans for her future, and so Verbena's grandmother steps in to take her granddaughter one day a week to help her understand more about her heritage. The story is told in the first person by each character in turn: Verbena's mother, Ursala; Verbena's grandmother, Anastabotte; Verbena herself; and the boy she likes, Soufi. None of the characters really stand out or make the reader care about them in any way. The main conflict of the plot is that Verbena isn't so much afraid of being a witch as she is afraid of turning out like her mother; that however, is glossed over in the end with the almost random introduction of Verbena's father. Mediocre plot and even more mediocre writing (though this may be the result of the translation and not the author's style)--this book is probably only appropriate for exceptionally large collections looking for fantasy titles for girls not yet quite ready for Harry Potter.
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