THE WORST WITCH - The time has come for accident-prone Mildred Hubble to begin her first year at Miss Cackle's Academy for Witches. Finally, she'll have the ability to make potions, chant, recite spells, wake up to bats every morning, and, best of all, have her very own inky black kitten. Everything sounds wonderful to Mildred. But, upon arrival at Miss Cackle's Academy, she realizes that everything is more disastrous than anything else. Memorizing spells and recipes for potions proves to be more challenging than she could have ever imagined, and Mildred manages to mix them up so often, that she rarely gets anything done. Riding a broomstick is quite a difficult task that Mildred can't seem to grasp. In fact, each time she hops on the powerful vehicle, she ends up crashing into a wall, or some other monstrosity. Mildred just wants to be able to go a day without being sent to Miss Cackle's office, or displeasing her form mistress, Miss Hardbroom. Unfortunately, doing so seems like an impossible task. Luckily, Mildred has her best friend, Maud, to turn to in times of crisis. Then, Mildred makes the mistake of turning Ethel, the resident teacher's pet, into her absolutely, positively sworn enemy. With that turn of events hovering over her head, Mildred realizes that the next few years at Miss Cackle's academy will be anything but fun, and that her troubles have only just started. 5 stars.
THE WORST WITCH STRIKES AGAIN - Mildred Hubble has only just begun her new semester at Miss Cackle's Academy for Witches, and she's already in hot water. Oddly enough, this time, it's not actually her fault. But, rather, the fault of Enid Nightshade, a tall new girl who Mildred has been asked to show around the school grounds. Enid appears well-behaved, and shy. But, behind closed doors, she's someone entirely different. Not only does she love making trouble, but she seems to have a penchant for putting the blame on Mildred, and Mildred alone. Since her first semester at Miss Cackle's, Mildred has been on her form mistress, Miss Hardbroom's, "naughty" list, and is viewed as a troublemaker. But so is not the case this semester. This semester, Mildred is trying as hard as possible to behave, and stay out of trouble and mischief. Unfortunately, the more she tries to make nice, the more she finds herself thrown in the midst of terrible situations. The fact that Mildred is absolutely, without a doubt disaster-prone doesn't help matters much either. Now, Mildred must do her best to avoid any mischief until the semester ends, or she may just find herself devoid of all friends, and, even worse, expelled from Miss Cackle's Academy! 5 stars.
About ten years ago I saw a film titled THE WORST WITCH on the Disney Channel, and instantly fell in love with it. When I learned that it was based upon a book series by Jill Murphy, I was absolutely thrilled, and determined to read the entire series. Unfortunately, they were out of print, and I was unable to satisfy my Mildred Hubble fix. I never forgot about the film, or the book series, for that matter; and, over the years, I have continued to search for both. So imagine my surprise when, on Monday, I walked into Barnes & Noble only to find THE WORST WITCH AT SCHOOL sitting on display in the children's section. I instantly purchased the book, and began reading, only to find myself transported back to my 10-year-old self, and the world of Mildred Hubble and Miss Cackle's Academy for Witches. Jill Murphy is a magnificent author, whose imagination runs wild in this delightful collection of the first two WORST WITCH books - THE WORST WITCH and THE WORST WITCH STRIKES AGAIN. Mildred Hubble is an irresistible character, whose fumbling, mischief-making, klutzy nature is humorous and sympathetic, at the same time. Her ability to encounter trouble at any turn is enjoyable; and the fact that she always manages to come out of everything unscathed, and having saved the day makes for a happy ending on all accounts. Murphy's straightforward writing is easy to follow, and will be devoured by middle readers looking for a little fantasy; while her black and white sketch drawings littering almost every page add another dimension to the two tales, and bring Mildred Hubble, along with her friends, foes, teachers, and pets to life. Since completing THE WORST WITCH AT SCHOOL, there is no doubt in my mind that I'll pick up THE WORST WITCH IN TROUBLE during my next bookstore excursion. THE WORST WITCH makes for the best story!