cover image Zoom Broom

Zoom Broom

Margie Palatini, Howard Fine. Hyperion Books, $14.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-7868-0322-4

Gritch the Witch, the flamboyantly grotesque antiheroine of Piggie Pie, spells trouble in this broom-buying caper. As the story begins, Gritch snacks on a ""batscotti"" bat-wing cookie, but her stomach growls for ""Rabbit Rye,"" and she fixates on obtaining its main ingredient. ""So with a Hi-ho and a Der-io, Gritch grabbed her hat, to her broom gave a whistle, and away they all flew like... And away they all flew like..."" At this point, in midair, Gritch learns that her trusty vehicle has given up the ghost. After a slapstick tumble into a haystack, she dusts herself off and marches to a broom showroom. There (in a sly reference to a Laurel and Hardy routine), a fast-talker named Foxy tries to interest her in a broom named ""Witch 1,"" instigating a silly ""Which one?""/ ""Witch 1!"" conversation. Palatini loads the story with off-hand references to such witchy standbys as ""Hansel and Gretel,"" The Wizard of Oz and the TV series Bewitched and pokes fun at the stereotypically sleazy salesguy. Fine makes his own visual asides to pop-culture sorcery, and shows the porky wiseacres of Piggie Pie driving past Gritch in their own shiny car. His vertiginous perspectives and distorted caricatures aren't quite as extreme here as in the witch's debut, yet Gritch remains one ugly and unpredictable customer in this fast-paced comedy. Ages 4-9. (Oct.)