Friday, November 8, 2013

The Misadventures of Salem Hyde Spelling Trouble

Kirkus Reviews starred (September 1, 2013)

A fledgling witch receives necessary guidance from a talking cat in this utterly adorable page-turner. Plucky, pigtailed and bespectacled Salem Hyde just wants a friend. After a misguided attempt to use her magic lands her in the principal's office, Salem's family decides she needs an animal companion. One well-placed call later, she meets knowledgeable and talkative feline Percival J. Whamsford III, otherwise known as Whammy. Whammy isn't just a chatty kitty; he is a Magical Animal Companion and will help Salem learn how to use her magic properly. However, the two get off to a rocky start (Salem had wanted a unicorn, not a cat), despite Whammy's best efforts. When Salem casts a big blunder of a spell at her school's spelling bee, Whammy arrives in the nick of time to help her and prove his friendship. Cammuso's jokes are laugh-out-loud funny, with one of the most memorable bits borrowed from Abbott and Costello's iconic "Who's on First" routine. Simply drawn, wide-eyed characters populate Cammuso's genial tale, lending it a Sunday-morning-comics feel and a gentle nostalgia that conjures visions of Calvin and Hobbes meeting a young Samantha Stephens. A delightful buddy story and an auspicious series opener; be sure to make room on shelves for Salem and Whammy. (Graphic fantasy. 7-10)

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