Just a Pinch of Magic

Feiwel & Friends. Oct. 2023. 304p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781250829115.
Gr 4-7–Winifred Moseley, age 12, lives in the magical town of Honeycrisp Hill, along with her father and aunt. The Moseleys are food enchanters and run a struggling bakery. Wini’s mother experimented with strong magic and caused a curse to afflict the town. She is disgraced and gone, at least for now. The townspeople both fear and admire Wini for her strong magical power. Although all the town’s inhabitants are unusual, they have rules about what kind of magic is acceptable and actively persecute creatures who do not fit into the established structure. Kaliope Clarke, the daughter of a word enchanter, has grown up in the nonmagical world. Both girls feel the weight of family secrets and are in need of a friend. To save the bakery, Wini attempts a high-level spell. Instead of her intended goal of making a bread that will draw in customers, she starts a process that may endanger the town even more. With the move to Honeycrisp Hill, Kali’s grandfather suddenly wants to reconnect, and Kali’s and Wini’s fathers begin a tentative romantic relationship. Already coping with anxiety, Kali hopes that finally being able to learn magic will improve her mental health as she discovers more about her family and talents. Through an otherworldly setting, Dow explores themes of discrimination and judgment.
VERDICT Like a fine confection, the story includes enough brininess to offset the sugar, creating a satisfyingly piquant dish to appeal to both baking and magic enthusiasts. Recipes are included.

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