Saturday, August 29, 2009

Modern Hansel and Gretel

A Series of Unfortunate Events, The Graveyard Book... a number of dark books for young readers have been doing rather well of late. I do not think for an instant that this is because children like darker themes; more than a handful of boys have come into the bookstore in the past week looking for silly fiction, NOT SCARY, they insist. But if your tastes fall along the darker side of things, snatch a copy of Keith McGowan's The Witch's Guide to Cooking with Children.

This is not "cooking with children" in the sense of "let's get together and make some nice cookies." This is cooking in the "stick a child in the oven" vein. Did I mention it's dark?

Siblings Sol and Connie move with their father and stepmother to a new town and are suspicious of the lack of children and the femur they see a dog knawing on. With pieces of the Witch's journal mixed into the narrative, readers unearth information just before Sol and Connie, heightening their sense of peril.

Connie is tomboyish and animal-loving while Sol is interested in science, technology, and books. While the two have their sibling spats, they remain close and work together to save themselves from the frying pan and the fire. Lovers of A Series of Unfortunate Events and The Sisters Grimm will devour this story and then stay up all night hoping for more while jumping at shadows.

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