Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Spell of a Time- Witches of Brooklyn

Escabasse, Sophia. Spell of a Time (Witches of Brooklyn #4)
September 5, 2023 by Random House Graphic
E ARC provided by Edelweiss plus

After Effie moves in with her aunts in Witches of Brooklyn and makes friends with Garance in What the Hex, she starts her magical training and is a little annoyed at how slowly it is going. Now that she has turned 12, however, her aunts take her to a seer who will evaluate the type of  magic that she has. This is a bit irritating, but since Effie has some powers that she can't control well, she is looking forward to some guidance. She has flourescent magic, much like Selimene and Carlota. The seer, a mermaid, knows that Effie can talk to animals, but isn't very good at it. Since she also knows that Effie has been talking to some seagulls who seem to know something about the disappearance of her sister, she loans Effie a turtle who helps her learn to modulate her communications with animals. This helps, but Effie and Garance come across some strong magical vibes with the help of the seagulls. They contact the aunts for backup, but because they are tweens, burst into an apartment on their own. They find the missing merrmaid, who is stuck in a spell created by Walter. Walter has created a time loop in order to try to get back his boyfriend, Elliott. The last time the two were happy was when Walter interacted with the mermaid, which is why she is stuck in the spell. It's difficult to unravel this, and the aunts think the best way is to send Effie and Garance back in time to the Mermaid Parade on Coney Island to try to stop the spell from ever being cast. Of course, this is filled with all sorts of problems. Will Effie's ability to harness her magic be enough to save the day? 
Strengths: The graphics are particularly fun; colorful, lots of details, and have a great feeling of place, which can be hard to capture. There are a lot of middle school students who secretly believe that they can learn magic and be witches, so Effie's experiences are a great way for them to have a glimpse into that world. The community is supportive, and her aunts are great fun. This has just the right flavor of goofy for middle school, which is a hard thing to get right. 
Weakness: Walter has one of those noses that looks like it is going to fall off his face. Very long and thin. I get so distracted by noses in graphic novels. No idea why. Also, I somehow missed book two, so feel like I didn't know enough about the mermaid community. 
What I really think: This is a fun graphic novel series that my students really like. It's a great choice for readers who like their stories with a little Steinkellner's The Okay Witch, Fernández's  ¡¡Manu!!, or Liu's Wingbearer. 

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