Spellbound: An Enchanting New Arrival (Jess Townes)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Spellbound: An Enchanting New Arrival, written by Jess Townes and illustrated by Jennifer Harney, a twist on the classic new baby sibling tale.

Master magician Willow has a perfectly magical life – a loving mom and dad, a beautiful house in the woods, and a faithful pet bunny named Houdini. Willow’s own magic is undeniable: she holds her parents spellbound with her tricks, potions, and transformations. That is, until her baby brother Rowan is born. Suddenly, Willow finds that her spells and charms are being countered by Rowan’s mesmerizing, and perhaps even wizardly, powers. Willow will have to find a way to combat her baby brother’s sorcery, before she falls victim to it herself!

A fresh and magical twist on a classic narrative. Both Harney’s colorful, energetic artwork and Townes’s wink-and-nod text skillfully manage to create a metaphor for the charms of children as magic, while straddling whether Willow and Rowan’s magic is “real.” This metaphor and the ambiguity in the way it is presented makes for a great way to explore that tricky adjustment from only child to older sibling, and Willow is well-written as me sympathetic, even when she is in the wrong (such as when she naively tries to garner attention by taking Rowan’s binky). Add in a heartwarming ending and a great length for storytime, and this makes for a great read. We both really liked this one, and it’s Baby Bookworm approved!

(Note: A copy of this book was provided to The Baby Bookworm by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.)

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