BooksForKidsBlog

Sunday, April 18, 2021

Just the Right Word! Wanda's Words Got Stuck by Lucy Rowland


Wanda is a little witch who has a problem with spelling--but NOT the black C-A-T kind of spelling. Wanda liked cauldrons, black cats, witches' hats and black bats, and learning to cast spells. But there seems to be a spell on her voice..

IT WAS TALKING--SHE TRIED

BUT NO WORDS WOULD COME OUT.

One day a new girl named Flo appears to join Wanda's class. Their teacher, Miss Cobweb, calls on all to make her feel welcome. All the student witches and warlocks except Wanda shout a loud "Hello!" But the shy new girl can only blush at the sudden rush of greetings. Wanda feels a kindred spirit and offers her a welcome wave and a smile. Flo thankfully waved back. No words required!

FLO SMILED AT HER FRIEND AND THEN WANDA KNEW

(THOUGH SHE NEVER QUITE SAID IT) SHE'D FOUND A FRIEND, TOO!

But then Miss Cobweb announces the annual MAGIC CONTEST in which everyone will have to perform an animal spell in front of the whole school. Wanda has that sinking feeling when she realizes that she will have to speak her spell in front of everyone. But Flo seems unworried and promises that they will practice their spells together in the park every day. Will Wanda be struck with a tongue-tied spell before an entire audience?

But in the Contest, Flo and her partner Jake go first. Wanda waits for her turn as her stomach starts to churn.

Jake conjours up a black cat and then a dog! And when the dog predictably chases the cat...

JAKE MAGICKED A... LION!

So far so good. Flo steps forward for her grand finale!

HUBBLE BUBBLE! SHE CONJURED A... DRAGON!

YIKES! When the flame-spouting dragon turns on Flo, she is totally SPELLBOUND! Not a single magic word can she speak! Of all times to have the cat get your tongue! But after all those practices in the park, Wanda knows the right spell-breaking word to save her friend....

"ALAKAZAM!"

And although Wanda's shyness vanishes like the dragon with the applause of the croud, there are times when between her and good friends like Flo...

SHE DOESN'T NEED WORDS AT ALL.

Lucy Rowland's forthcoming Wanda's Words Got Stuck (Candlewick Books, 2021) takes on extreme shyness by dealing humorously with the problem in a sensitive story useful in the classroom for the beginning of school, a tongue-tied new student, and even as a multi-purpose scary season read-aloud witch tale. With the spirited illustrations of artist Paula Bowles and Rowland's lively rhyming text, younger students will get the message that indeed words (and friendship) can have magical powers!

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