cover image Backyard Witch: Sadie’s Story

Backyard Witch: Sadie’s Story

Christine Heppermann and Ron Koertge, illus. by Deborah Marcero. Greenwillow, $16.99 (176p) ISBN 978-0-06-233838-9

In this charming series opener from Heppermann (Poisoned Apples) and Koertge (Coaltown Jesus), nine-year-old Sadie is resigned to spending four long days lonely and bored when her two best friends go on vacation without her. Instead, she meets a delightful, friendly witch who has moved into the playhouse in her backyard. Despite the pointy hat and bubbling cauldron, Ms. M is no typical witch—her brand of magic is more natural and inspirational than built around potions and spells. “The most powerful magic is something anyone can do,” she tells Sadie. “It’s called paying attention.” Under Ms. M’s tutelage, Sadie learns the fine art of birding and realizes that her surroundings abound with marvelous creatures and creations. Marcero’s occasional b&w illustrations play into the light, fun tone, and Ms. M’s understated motivational techniques hit just the right note of subtle encouragement as Sadie looks inside herself and at the world around her to find a different kind of magic. Ages 6–10. Author’s agent: (for Heppermann) Tina Wexler, ICM; (for Koertge) Anne Hawkins, John Hawkins & Associates. Illustrator’s agent: Danielle Smith, Red Fox Literary. (July)