Garlic and the Witch

HarperCollins/Quill Tree. Sept. 2022. 160p. Tr $22.99. ISBN 9780062995124. pap. $13.99. ISBN 9780062995117.
Gr 3-6–Garlic and friends return for an even cozier sequel. A morning surprise signals that Garlic may be slowly transforming into a human, so she seeks out Witch Agnes’s help. Turns out the transformation is just part of Garlic’s growing, as it will be for all the other anthropomorphic vegetables. Still, as the Count says, “Big changes can be scary.” Luckily, Garlic isn’t alone. A quest to the Magic Market—with a few snags—shows Garlic’s growth beyond the physical as she comes into her own. Paulsen effectively expands the agricultural world she conjured in Garlic and the Vampire, including adding a brief origin story. Nearly wordless sequences and a cottage-core palette establish an impeccable visual serenity. Light Frog-and-Toad-esque romance takes the wholesomeness even further. The cast of human characters is diverse in skin tone. Carrot uses they/them pronouns.
VERDICT A must-have for sweater-weather season or anytime.

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