Saturday 2 January 2021

Little Gem

Little Gem written and illustrated by Anna Zobel (Puffin Books) PB RRP $14.99 ISBN978 1760896089

Reviewed by Dianne Bates

When her spell at Witchcraft School goes wrong, Gem lands in an unfamiliar cottage outside a strange, colourful town called Ellsworth Pining. Not only that, but she is one hundred years into the future! Soon she meets Mr Donatello the postman and his son Renzo who shows Gem around the town. Everything, of course, is strange and modern, far different from Gem’s witch world.

The town adopts Little Gem as its witch, being especially grateful when their lost property is returned. The thing, though, is that Gem’s spells often do awry. Despite this, with Renzo and Henry the Ghost, she searches for Professor Dias, the Weather Warden who has gone missing. With the help of Amira, a waitress from CafĂ© Silva, the four find the professor who is trying to hatch a dragon egg.

Despite messing up frequently, Little Gem is supported by everyone around her and makes so many friends she decides that her new world is likely to be a happier place than Witchcraft School which is where the book ends, signalling that this is the first in a series.

This is a straightforward, gentle, and quirky story with mishaps along the way. Frequently illustrated with delicate black and white pictures, it is likely to appeal to an average reader aged 7+ years and up.

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