Review: ‘The Hidden Witch’
I hadn’t realized that Witch Boy was a planned series. But sometimes the sequel is better than the first.
The Hidden Witch
By Molly Knox Ostertag.
Graphix, October 2018
Grades 3 and up
In Witch Boy, Aster had to fight for the freedom to learn how to be a Witch, a role usually reserved for the women of his family. He also battled his evil great-uncle Mikasi. But now his grandmother offers him extra tutoring in exchange for helping his uncle.
In the meantime, Charlie, Aster’s non-magical friend, is being shadowed by a fetch, a magical shadow that is cruel. Charlie doesn’t realize it’s the new student, a girl she attempted to befriend. Aster is the one who sees and understands what is going on and he wants to help her, but he doesn’t know enough. So, he turns to his grandmother who tells him, she’ll do it if he helps Mikasi.
This is an exciting magical story. While the first volume had undertones of gender role and even gender identity, the messages are subtler and typical for this age group. Bad people can change. Give people a chance. Kindness.
The artwork has rich luscious colors that once again create the mood for this book: Dark, moody colors for the scenes with Mikasi and light colors for when Aster visits with Charlie or interacts with her in the nonmagical side of town.
If you haven’t added the first volume to your collection, do it now and then go read volume 2. It’s even better!
About Esther Keller
Esther Keller is the librarian at JHS 278, Marine Park in Brooklyn, NY. There she started the library's first graphic novel collection and strongly advocated for using comics in the classroom. She also curates the Graphic Novel collection for the NYC DOE Citywide Digital Library. She started her career at the Brooklyn Public Library and later jumped ship to the school system so she could have summer vacation and a job that would align with a growing family's schedule. On the side, she is a mother of 4 and regularly reviews for SLJ and School Library Connection (formerly LMC). In her past life, she served on the Great Graphic Novels for Teens Committee where she solidified her love and dedication to comics.
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