Hello, friends! Our spooky series book today is The Witches Three Count On Me!, written by Yates Davis and Lynda Bouchard, and illustrated by Kody Kratzer.
During dinner on Halloween, a little boy misbehaves and is sent to his room, but he decides to “play a trick” by climbing out the window and running into the woods. There, he comes upon a group of three witches casting spells by moonlight, who quickly capture the boy and fly him on broomstick back to their lair. Knowing the witches plan to eat him, the boy uses his trickery skills to confuse the witches with a math riddle, fooling them and winning his freedom. The witches flee, and the boy runs home to his waiting mother and Halloween superhero costume.
Frightfully uneven. The unnamed protagonist doesn’t get off on a very good foot by beginning the story by calling his little sister ugly, something that makes her cry (the illustration is mildly devastating). From there, while he experiences some minor moments of peril, he does not seem to learn anything from his experiences, and shows no growth or remorse by the end. The rhyming text is well-balanced for the most part, with a few inscrutable verses that are difficult to read aloud, but the story itself drags, and the word problem during the climax causes an abrupt and jarring tonal shift. The artwork is similarly inconsistent, with some spreads nicely balancing autumnal hues and cinematic framing while others have noticeably flat features or oddly-exaggerated character expressions. This would definitely be better for older elementary children, owing to the difficulty the math problem and the length; JJ enjoyed the first few pages of witches, but lost interest quickly. Overall, this ambitious indie lacked the polish and direction that could have made for a better Halloween tale, and it wasn’t for us.
(Note: A copy of this book was provided to The Baby Bookworm by a representative of the author in exchange for an honest review.)