Anna Dale, Author . Bloomsbury $16.95 (304p) ISBN 978-1-58234-890-2

Dale makes a sparkling debut with this sprightly novel introducing 12-year-old Joe Binks who, while traveling by train from London to Canterbury to spend Christmas with his mum and stepfather, inadvertently becomes tangled in a web of dueling witches. First, he disembarks from the train at the wrong stop. Next, a fellow in a "peaked cap" transforms a broomstick into a tricycle that delivers Joe to the headquarters of the Dead-nettle Coven, comprised of a quintet of benign and batty witches. Twiggy, the youngest, befriends Joe, who soon learns about the longstanding competition among covens to find the missing page 513 from a centuries-old definitive book of witchcraft. The convoluted plot features ample corkscrew twists and eccentric characters for whom the author cleverly compounds their identities. Potter fans will appreciate the magical phenomena that Joe encounters, including windsprites, flying creatures who come in and out of view, delivering messages written with invisible witch ink; spectacles with lenses that change colors and look as though they're made of liquid, which render this ink visible to the non-witch eye; and nifty spells and potions a-plenty. Dale nimbly ties together the spidery threads of her story in a beguiling denouement. This cast's amusing antics will keep fantasy fans thoroughly engaged between visits to Hogwarts. Readers will hope that Dale books a return trip to Joe's bewitched world. Ages 8-12. (Oct.)

Reviewed on: 10/04/2004
Release date: 09/01/2004
Show other formats
Hardcover - 224 pages - 978-0-7475-7332-6
Hardcover - 978-0-7540-6691-0
Hardcover - 1 pages - 978-1-4056-7662-5
Compact Disc - 978-0-307-58271-3
Book - 1 pages - 978-1-4000-9085-3
Paperback - 296 pages - 978-1-58234-699-1
Hardcover - 304 pages - 978-0-7475-6909-1
Stay ahead with
Tip Sheet!
Free newsletter: the hottest new books, features and more
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
Email Address


Log In Lost Password

PW has integrated its print and digital subscriptions, offering exciting new benefits to subscribers, who are now entitled to both the print edition and the digital editions of PW (online or via our app). For instructions on how to set up your accout for digital access, click here. For more information, click here.

The part of the site you are trying to access is now available to subscribers only. Subscribers: to set up your digital subscription with the new system (if you have not done so already), click here. To subscribe, click here.

Email pw@pubservice.com with questions.

Not Registered? Click here.