FICTION

Big Birthday Bash

illus. by Frank Cammuso. 96p. (The Misadventures of Salem Hyde: Bk. 2). Abrams/Amulet. May 2014. Tr $14.95. ISBN 9781419710254; pap. $6.95. ISBN 9781419710261; ebk. $14.95. ISBN 9781613126233.
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Gr 2–4—A follow-up to Cammuso's first Salem Hyde misadventure, this title will further amuse fans of the author's slapstick storytelling. Salem has magical powers and is able to transform herself into different sizes. As the book opens, her cat Whammy relaxes outside in a reclining chair and hears Salem's cry for help. The young witch's magic has turned her into a giant. She is forced to hide behind a water tower, and her dad passes her on his way home. Salem leaves a huge shoe in the road to get home safely before him. In another vignette, at a birthday party, Salem's gift to her friend is to make all the gifts enormous, but she discovers she has only succeeded in making all the partygoers small. Large squawking birds arrive, set to take off with children. Squirrels make the children fraught with fear. Afraid she has ruined the party, she apologizes to the birthday boy, and realizes her mistake is his favorite birthday gift. Salem Hyde is a whimsical character. The bright two-color pink and black illustrations convey the spunky heroine's energy. Dark shadows lend volume and height where needed. Frames, wide and magnified in varying degrees, are filled with action and high jinks. For fans of Cammuso's previous work, including Otto's Orange Day (Toon, 2008).—Lisa Gieskes, Richland County Public Library, Columbia, SC
Young witch Salem is invited to her friend Edgar's birthday party. When the perfect gift slips through her fingers and her homemade one doesn't seem like enough, Salem casts a spell to give him a big birthday surprise (that takes an unexpected turn). Visual jokes abound in the black-and-white, pink-accented illustrations. A satisfying second entry in the graphic novel series.

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