I'm thrilled to have the One Witch At A Time Blog Tour stopping by today! Below you can read my review, check out a guest post by author Stacy DeKeyser, and enter the giveaway...
One Witch At A Time
by Stacy DeKeyser
Simon & Schuster
When Rudi Bauer sets out for town one morning to trade, he never dreams that Susanna Louisa will sell his family’s cow—for magic beans, no less! But that’s exactly what she does, and the consequences will be disastrous unless Rudi can return the magic beans to their rightful owner, the evil witch of Petz.
The journey to Petz is long and hard, but Rudi and Susanna Louisa soon find a shortcut: a magically sprouted beanstalk leads them straight there...and straight into danger. Because the evil witch of Petz is a terrible giant who has locked away summer and keeps his kingdom a frozen wasteland. And in order to defeat him, Rudi is going to need a little magic of his own.
A classic fairytale with a fun, adventurous twist...that is what Stacy DeKeyser’s One Witch at a Time is! This standalone companion to DeKeyser’s The Brixen Witch, is a reimagining of Jack and the Beanstalk.
Rudi thought his misadventures with witches was over, but an unexpected day at the market brings magic and mischief back into Rudi’s life! Witches and magic are real, but, according to the Brixen Witch, there are rules for both. Rules, like one witch’s magic must not cross over into another’s territory. But a pretty girl, a handful of beans, and a cow deal gone wrong, leads to this rule being broken. It’s up to Rudi, the maybe not-so-annoying Susanna Louisa, and the mysterious pretty girl to put things right and save the day.
One Witch at a Time is an exciting take on a classic story, full of humor; adventure; whimsical settings; and sparkling storytelling! This reimagining is clever, fast-paced, and full of unexpected twists. With the small town of Brixen and the frozen Petz, DeKeyser lays out a vivid, well-crafted world, full of whimsy and folklore, for readers to get lost in. I just loved all the unique magical elements, from the amusing not-quite-what-you’d-expect witches, to magic beans, giant beanstalks, hens who lay golden eggs, to the more subtle, inside-of-us-all touches of magic. Young readers will have so much fun joining Rudi and his friends as they climb the beanstalk, traverse the icy Petz, and go up against a surprising Giant!
DeKeyser fills this world with wonderful, likable characters! From brave Rudi, lovable Susanna, feisty Agatha, the funny Brixen Witch, and more, these characters will entertain, endear, and excite. I especially loved Rudi’s wise-cracking, more-than-meets-the-eye Oma!
Like any good fairytale, One Witch at a Time takes its characters and readers on a wildly thrilling adventure, offers up a wickedly fun baddie, throws in some important life lessons, and concludes in a Happily Ever After kind of way.
My Final Thoughts; With sparkling storytelling, amusing characters, and an exciting premise, One Witch at a Time is sure to enchant and enthrall young readers!
4/5 yummy cupcakes
Researching Fantasy: Not an Oxymoron!
by Stacy DeKeyser
Every novel needs research. That’s no surprise when you’re talking about a historical novel or science fiction. But what about fantasy? How can you research something that’s not even real in the first place?
But fantasy stories do need research, especially a book like One Witch at a Time, which is set very firmly in the real world. Because if an author doesn’t get the “true” parts of her story right, her readers will never come along for the dive into fantasy.
And so, before I ever wrote a word, I did some homework.
Since One Witch at a Time would be based on “Jack and the Beanstalk,” I started by reading every version of “Jack and the Beanstalk” I could find. That led me to “Jack and the Giant-Killer” stories, which are similar, but not exactly the same. Reading all those stories caused me to ask lots of questions, most of which began, “But what about _____?” (Traditional stories don’t seem to care much for logic or character development.) And so my own version of “Jack and the Beanstalk” began to form in my head; a version that tried to answer some of the “But what about” questions.
Then it was time to plant my fantasy (so to speak) in the real world. I wanted the fictional village of Brixen, and all its inhabitants, to seem so real that when the magic actually happened, the reader would willingly go along. And so, more homework.
Here is a list of some of the things I researched for One Witch at a Time:
- All the possible colors of chicken eggs
- How far an average kid can walk in an hour
- The size, shape, color, and markings of different kinds of dried beans
- The growth habits of pole beans
- The time of sunrise in the Italian Alps in April
- A map of the Dolomites (the Italian Alps), particularly around Kaselruth, the real town on which my fictional Brixen is based
- Names of Alpine flowers, their colors, and blooming seasons
- Alpine birds, especially those that are active in winter
- How many rolls of Smarties I could eat without getting a tummy ache (oh wait—that wasn’t actually research)
So when you read One Witch at a Time, and follow Rudi and Susanna and Agatha on their adventures, you can rest assured that they are living in a world as real as the one you’re living in. (Which means, I suppose, that if you should stumble upon a witch’s doorstep one day, you’ll be ready!)
Stacy DeKeyser is the author of The Brixen Witch, which received two starred reviews and was a Chicago Public Library Best of the Best Pick, and its sequel, One Witch at a Time, as well as the young adult novel, Jump the Cracksand two nonfiction books for young readers. She lives in Connecticut with her family. To learn more and to download a free, CCSS-aligned discussion guide, visit StacyDeKeyser.com.
Win a set of Stacy DeKeyser's middle grade reads!
One winner will get a hardcover copy of One Witch At A Time and a paperback copy of The Brixen Witch.
-must be 13+ to enter
-winner will be emailed and must claim prize within 48 hours
-Word Spelunking is not responsible for lost, damaged, or stolen prizes
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Haunting of Orchid Forsythia
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