cover image A Very Witchy Spelling Bee

A Very Witchy Spelling Bee

George Shannon, illus. by Mark Fearing. Harcourt, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-15-206696-3

Spelling truly is magic in Shannon’s easygoing story about a purple-haired witch named Cordelia who loves spelling words and casting spells (when readers meet her, she turns her C-A-T into a C-O-A-T by adding a letter). After Cordelia enters a spelling bee, the mean-spirited 203-year-old reigning champ, Beulah Divine, vows to defeat the young witch; Cordelia wins by adding the letter R to the word “F-I-E-N-D,” turning her rival into an ally. Fearing’s illustrations add charisma to Shannon’s fun premise by dressing the witches in knitted sweaters and oversize plaids, and milking each magical exchange for everything it’s worth. Ages 4–8. Author’s agent: Mary Cummings, Betsy Amster Literary Enterprises. Illustrator’s agent: Sean McCarthy, Sheldon Fogelman Agency. (July)