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*A Matter-of-Fact Magic Book: The Wednesday Witch (A Stepping Stone Book)* by Ruth Chew
Also by Ruth Chew:

A Matter-of-Fact Magic Book: Witch's Broom (A Stepping Stone Book)
A Matter-of-Fact Magic Book: The Wednesday Witch (A Stepping Stone Book)
by Ruth Chew
Ages 7-10 144 pages Random House August 2015 Paperback    

Originally published in 1969, The Wednesday Witch is the first book of 29 in Chew’s A Matter-of Fact Magic series. When Hilda the witch smells mischief (a perfume) coming from Mary Jane’s house in New York, she flies there on James, her magic vacuum. She doesn’t get into the house as planned, and she accidentally leaves her underfed cat there on the doorstep. Mary Jane and her family adopt the cat, who has a talent for dusting with her tail, and change her name from Hey Cat to Cinders.

When Hilda returns for her cat, vacuums get swapped. With no way to get home, Hilda takes Mary Jane’s roller skates. When Hilda resorts to a magic spell involving scissors to get her belongings back, Hilda, Cinders, and one vacuums shrink to a few inches in size. This entertains Mary Jane and her best friend, Marian,s for awhile because they can take Cinders to school (she can fit in a walnut) and Hilda and Cinders can live in Mary Jane’s new empty dollhouse.

The cat and witch are hard to hide from her teacher and her parents, though, because both are mischievous and energetic. When Hilda and Mary Jane work together on a spell for a magical measuring tape that grows things they realize it’s better to have a friend then make an enemy.

Black-and-white illustrations appear on every third or fourth page. Some of the artwork is small, and some takes up a full page. Although the writing mentions classroom chalk and TV dinners and the illustrations include older-style roller skates and clothing, this doesn’t date the book as a story from 1969. Girls ages seven to ten will likely be the biggest audience for The Wednesday Witch, especially if this was a story their mothers remember reading.

Mary Jane is independent yet curious. She comes from a loving family, which includes her aunt Harriet. She is expected to do chores at home (put toys away, keep rooms tidy) and work in school. Her teacher, Mrs. Carson, is strict! Mary Jane has adventures with Marian (they go to the beach) and with the witch (they find white hair and a specific kind of macaroni for a magic spell). Cinders the cat and James the vacuum add the humor to this fantastical story.

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  Tanya Boudreau/2016 for curled up with a good kid's book  

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