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Little Gem by Anna Zobel

Title: Little Gem

Author: Anna Zobel

Genre: Fantasy

Publisher: Puffin

Published: 5th January 2021

Format: Paperback

Pages: 240

Price: $14.99

Synopsis: An adorable and charming new children’s series that is a sparkling gem of a read for anyone who loves Polly and Buster or Mummy Fairy and Me!

Sometimes getting a little lost can help you discover who you really are . . .

When her spell at Witchcraft School goes wrong, Gem lands in an unfamiliar, empty cottage, outside a strange, colourful town.

Everyone in Ellsworth Pining thinks Gem is their new village witch, even when Gem tries to correct them. And Gem’s new friends do need her. The Weather Worker is missing, and there are tales of a terrifying beast in the woods.

Gem might know a spell that could help – if she can get it right.

~*~

Every now and then, a spectacularly inventive and fun new series comes along for children. This year is the beginning of a new series by Anna Zobel, called Little Gem, about a young witch who travels 100 years into the future. The novel begins where Little Gem wakes up in an abandoned cottage – and the adventure grows from there. Gem is accepted and welcomed as the village witch, even though she knows her spells aren’t really working. Accompanied by Amira, Ghost Henry and a diverse array of characters, Gem discovers that she might just know how to perform her magic away from the cold, dismal confines of Witchcraft School.

Living in Ellsworth Pining is strange at first – Little Gem has to get used to so much that isn’t around in her own time!

This rollicking adventure is filled with witches, ghosts, magic and friendship, and Ghost Henry is quite fun – and supportive of Gem, and able to give her the confidence she needs to find her magic and talents. Little Gem is a wonderful character, who is in equal parts herself and unsure of herself. She needs to find her confidence, and her endearing quality is that she is who she is – and she is accepted for that. Having a character like this in a diverse world reflects what kids know and feel today.

In a post-COVID world, this is a comforting and refreshing read that will introduce kids to new characters, and that will bring joy to the latter half of the school holidays. I read it in one sitting – and absolutely lost myself in the joy and magic. I love a good book where everything swallows you whole in a way that makes you wonder where it has gone when you close the book and leave the world, either permanently or temporarily.

This is the first book in the series, with book two to follow in June 2021 and I will definitely be wanting to read it. It reminded me of the sort of stories that I loved as a kid and had that magic about it that I found in Narnia, and so many other books. Good witches are often my favourite kind of witch – and I am really into seeing the different ways all kinds of authors have approached how they write witches and magic. Each time, it feels like there is something new and innovative about them that is exciting, refreshing and makes me want to read them again.

A great series for younger readers, and any readers for that matter, because this is a book that I am sure will have wide appeal.

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