Review: Diary of an Accidental Witch-Ghostly Getaway by Perdita & Honor Cargill, illustrated by Katie Saunders

Cover image by Katie Saunders, published by Little Tiger Press, August 2022

Bea Black is back and she is no longer feeling like the “new girl” as the new academic year begins at Little Spellshire’s School of Extraordinary Arts! She has managed to integrate her magical friends with non-magical best friend and next-door-neighbour Ash and is still managing to conceal the truly extraordinary arts that she is learning at school from her Dad!

In this, her third adventure, Bea only occasionally betrays her lack of knowledge of the witchy world. For example, she is the only pupil who doesn’t know that the new Geography mistress, Dr Pellicano is famous for flying around the world on a broomstick! However, she becomes just as excited as her classmates about the prospect of the upcoming school trip. When the destination is revealed as Cadabra Castle, she is less worried about the rumour of it being haunted than she is by the prospect of her Dad finishing his book Understanding Little Spellshire’s Most Peculiar Microclimate whilst she is away, and the sudden knowledge that this might initiate a move away from the magical town where she feels so at home.

With Ash prepped to take over author-distraction duties, Bea sets off with her classmates for a week of fun and magical adventure, whilst Headteacher Ms Sparks and “upside down exclamation mark” Dr Pellicano hope that Cadabra Castle’s history as the home of witchy cooperation will have a unifying effect on disorderly Year Seven! Will the prospect of staying in a hexagonal castle room with a four poster bed outweigh the prospect of encountering the ghost of High Master Maggitty Crawe? Will Year Seven ever learn to bond? Will Bea and arch-rival Blair survive a night-time challenge together? Get your hands on a copy of Ghostly Getaway and prepare to be thrilled!

I know that the Diary of an Accidental Witch series is hugely popular in schools and it is not hard to see why. Firstly, they are outstandingly enjoyable to read with beautifully observed storylines which any Key Stage 2 child can relate to, filled with everyday dilemmas and laugh out loud humour. On top of this you have the Witch School setting with just enough peril and tension to keep you turning the pages, but no darkness or deep scares to frighten children who have a nervous disposition. The distinctive black and white illustrations by Katie Saunders add to the charm of the story and alongside the diary format, break up the text into manageable chunks which makes reading an enjoyable experience for children who are emerging as independent readers. Little Tiger Press have gone a step further by using a clear font and extra line spacing which is very helpful for dyslexic readers. The playful text effects also help young readers decide which words to emphasise when reading aloud. In my opinion, Perdita and Honor Cargill have once again written a hugely enjoyable story, filled with heart and a lovely underlying message of discussing your worries, which I would recommend to all readers of 7 and above.

I am most grateful to Little Tiger Press for my gifted copy of Diary of an Accidental Witch-Ghostly Getaway in return for my honest opinion.

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