Karen’s Witch (Baby-Sitters Little Sister #1)
Thirty years after Martin branched off from the Baby-Sitters Club with the Little Sister books, this graphic novel adaptation revives their tried-and-true plots. Readers need not know BSC regulars to follow along; six-year-old Karen is the stepsister of BSC’s 13-year-old Kristy, and they see one another (and Boo-Boo the cat) during Karen’s biweekly visits to her father’s home. Despite a rule of “no spying” at her dad’s place, Karen speculates about the imposing Victorian house next door and its occupant, a woman she dubs Morbidda Destiny. On “a witchy, autumny night,” Karen’s imagination keeps her wide awake and frightened, posing a babysitting challenge that Kristy overcomes. By the reassuring light of day, Karen ropes her reluctant friend Hannie into a dubious mission to reveal the witch’s identity. In her debut title, Farina, a background painter at Dreamworks TV, sustains momentum with pared-down, emotive panels and close-ups of the wide-eyed, conflicted Karen, who dares to confront her fears. Diverting and funny for those new to sitcom hijinks, this spin-off of a spin-off bodes well for this series. Ages 7–10. (Dec.) Correction: A previous version of this review stated that Karen's father's home is new; it is not.