Aster and the Mixed-Up Magic

Random/Graphic. (Aubépine: Bk. 2). Mar. 2021. 256p. Tr $20.99. ISBN 9780593125342; pap. $12.99. ISBN 9780593118870.
Gr 3-6–This lively, episodic sequel finds 10-year-old Aster and her family still settling into their new home in a rural valley. Aster’s duties as the magical Queen of Summer intrude on playing video games with her older brother, Reed, and making friends at her new school. Saving the town from a bureaucratic talking ram and his army of rebellious sheep requires Aster to let Reed in on her secret, and seek help from her classmates and neighbors. Later, Aster explores a magical realm and continues her epic battle of wits against the valley’s trickster spirit. Pico’s script is even more warmhearted and humorous than the last installment. This title stands alone well enough, but because it builds directly on preceding adventures, the series is best read in order. Karensac’s character design and coloring—great in the last book—are even better here. Aster’s talking dog, Buzz, and her eclectic band of magical friends are quirky and cute; most human characters, including Aster, are white. Noteworthy in this installment is how Aster devises nonviolent solutions by understanding her adversaries and relying on the cleverness that served her well in Aster and the Accidental Magic.
VERDICT Great for fans of the “Hilda” tales and Adventure Time, this title is a recommended purchase, especially for collections that include the first book.

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