Thank you, Netgalley and Dreaming Robot Press, for this magical middle-grade read! A Witch’s Kitchen was an adorable and well-written book for younger readers, especially little girls interested in strong female leads and magic.
Millie is from a family of witches who are all how witches ought to be: They have warts, fly on brooms, brew curses, and have a proper cackle. Millie can barely do a spell, much less grow a single wart on the end of her tiny nose. She has never felt like when she fits in with her family. So when the witch elder decides their clan needs a representative at the Enchanted Forest School, Millie is overjoyed to be selected.
However, not all is as it seems, and secrets long-kept will come out. Suddenly, Millie has powers of her own, friends of other magical races, and lots of questions that no one can answer. When her friend reveals that there is a world parallel to theirs and that her father is from a place called Salem, MA, Millie realizes some answers won’t be answered unless you seek the answers yourself, and she is ready to go and find them.
I loved basically everything about this concept and writing, from Millie’s characterization to the world building. Millie is endearing and a perfect role model for younger readers; she is misunderstood, feels alone, and does something to change her life for the better. This magical world was easy to picture, from the school built inside of a talking oak tree to Millie’s household ghost-turned-frog. I can picture many drawings of this world being made if this was every read in a classroom setting!
While some parents may not agree with how the parental figures were portrayed in this book – from Millie’s mom being controlling and Millie acting out to the multiple one-parent households – I don’t think this detracted from the book as much as added a different dimension to it. I think teachers will appreciate it more, given how well the Enchanted Forest School is portrayed in its environment and classes. I would have been a much better reader in, say, third grade if we were given the option to read this! Also, who can resist that cover?
Five waves, since I did, in fact read this at the beach!