The Witchy Worries of Abbie Adams by Rhonda Hayter
Release Date: April 2010
Source: Traveling ARC Tours
Abbie Adams appears to be your typical fifth grader unless you learn she's a witch. She may be able to time travel and do spells, but no one but other witches are to know. This means fixing her little brother's mishaps and doing homework the normal way. All in all, your every day typical life. That is until her father brings home a tiny little black cat as a gift for Abbie. Like Abbie he may seem normal, but he is anything but normal! I mean, who has ever heard of a cat that likes to read books, especially science ones? However, when they discover that the cat is really Thomas Edison under an evil enchantment everything becomes clear. Now if only they can turn him back into a thirteen year old boy and get him back to where he belongs. Can Abbie and her family accomplish this difficult task in time? Or will history change right before her eyes?
The Short of It: I can’t say enough good things about this book. I don’t often dip into the Middle Grade books, but boy am I ever glad I did. Abbie and her family are so much fun and I enjoyed every minute with them. My only complaint is that I wanted more; I certainly hope Hayter brings Abbie back for future books.
Plot: To me, this is what really sold the book. When I first picked it up, I was a little uncertain what I would think, but Hayter’s plot is what made me fall in love with the book. Who would have ever thought that a simple, small black cat would have been one of the most famous inventors in history? And the ramifications of taking him out of the correct time line was something fun to explore as well. I mean, what would happen if the light bulb or audio player or anything else he thought of had never been invented? Where would we be today? I kind of shudder at the possibility. I don’t know about you but I’m kind of fond of my lamps and MP3 player! It’s an interesting topic to think of at any age. Of course, all their little witchy skills and abilities simply added icing to the story and made a topic could have easily been boring or serious into something very light hearted and fun.
Characters: Abbie may be a witch, but in every other way she is your average every day girl. She is so easy to relate to. After all, who doesn’t worry about their friends not liking them or trying to get their annoying little brother out of trouble? Of course, she also had other typical fifth grader moments in ignoring homework/spells, hating her teacher, and occasionally doing things she shouldn’t do. But she also proved she had a good heart. No matter what her little brother did she never stayed mad and didn’t seem to hold any grudges against him. She also did everything she could to keep Tom comfortable and entertained while he was trapped in his cat form. She made sure he had lots of books, calmed him when he was upset, and even risked taking him to school so he wouldn’t be bored. It was fun seeing her grow both as a person and witch during the book as she focused and faced new and dangerous situations. I have no doubt that Abbie will become a great witch as time goes by.
Romance: No romance here. After all, Abbie is only in fifth grade! She better not be thinking about dating! I will note that there is a small connection between Abbie and Tom, but it’s more friendship than anything else. And besides, he belongs in a whole different time from her!
Writing: Hayter has a nice writing style. I adore how she weaved the historical facts into the story in a fun way. Yes, she was throwing a lot of information at a reader, but it felt like it was part of the story rather than just stuck in there. After all, how else was Abbie or Tom going to learn more about his life if they didn’t do a little web searching? Beyond that, Hayter’s writing has an easy flow to it. I wouldn’t say it was so much simplistic, but it is easily approachable by kids in grade 4 and up. (Maybe even 3rd if they’re good readers.) The short chapters go fast and will be good for those readers who have a short attention span.
Librarian-Mode: So, I’ve already admitted that I don’t read much in the Middle Grade area making recommendations very hard. I’ve been trying to figure out what else to pair this with, but there is nothing else that I’ve read that fits. My gut tells me that lovers of Allie Finkle or Judy Moody would enjoy this one as well, but I’ve never read them so I’m not positive. The safest thing I can say is that this book will be perfect for those looking for a fun, light-hearted read, especially those interested in magic or history.