BLOG TOUR: Bella Broomstick by Lou Kuenzler!

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Thank you to Scholastic Books and Faye Rogers for allowing to participate in the Bella Broomstick blog tour, as well as sending me an advanced copy of Lou Kuenzler's novel. In no way has this affected my opinion of the novel, nor the content of this review.

Hello everybody! Today I have been lucky enough to be given the opportunity to partake in the blog tour for author Lou Kuenzler's latest novel, Bella Broomstick. For today's post I have Lou herself guest posting, where she talks about her top ten witch stories. As well as having the author guest posting, I also have my review for Bella Broomstick - so check that out as well!

10.   Gobbolino the Witch's Cat by Ursula Williams: 
Easy to read and utterly delightful, I have always loved this story of the little witch’s cat who’d rather live in a kitchen. Wrongs are put right and humour abounds as poor Gobbolino tries to find a home. I remember being very proud as this was one of the first chapter books I read all by myself.

9. Witch Child by Celia Rees: 
Like Arthur Miller’s The Crucible, this is a wonderful story of the terrible wrongs that superstition, mistrust and bigotry can bring about.  A beautifully crafted blend of fiction and the horrors that we know of from history.

8. Charmed Life by Diana Wynne Jones: 
I won’t give it away for anyone who has not read the book, but the twist of the true role of the sister witch in this story is spine chilling.  A wonderful example of what we would now call Middle Grade fiction as our hero fights to discover his own identity.

7. Winnie the Witch by Valerie Thomas: 

I think what I love most about this picture book (so brilliantly illustrated by Korky Paul) is the long-suffering and indignant cat. Outside the magic world, haven’t we all had a boss a bit like poor misguided Winnie who we have to go along with no matter how inept?

6. Room on the Broom by Julia Donaldson: 
Another wonderful picture book with the addition of glorious catchy rhyme and hilarious page turns. I love the way Axel Scheffler’s illustrations so wonderfully capture our traditional expectations of a witch alongside her super souped-up broom. Brilliant!

5. The Witches by Roald Dahl: 
No witchy list would be complete without these grotesque and marvellous bald-headed horrors. SO SCARY … but hilarious too.  I remember my children peeking out wide-eyed from under the covers as I read it to them … but always begging for another chapter as they gripped the duvet.

4. The Worst Witch by Jill Murphy:
What can I say? The archetypal story of magic and mayhem. Pitch-perfect as the drab, grey world of Miss Cackle’s Academy zings with excitement on every page. It is wonderfully funny, but the thing I love most about this book (and the whole Worst Witch series in fact) is the friendship between clumsy Mildred and long-suffering Maud - never easy but always enduring … A perfect story about negotiating relationships (even for those of us who don’t have wands).

3. Harry Potter by J K Rowling: 
Since the very first moment Harry tumbled out of the Dursley’s broom cupboard, I have been hooked. And what a lot of magnificent witches there are … not only smart, stubborn Hermione of course but green-fingered Professor Sprout and my own personal hero, Professor McGonagall (so brilliantly played by Maggie Smith in the films).  She is utterly terrifying but scrupulously fair … Oh, and brilliant at magic of course.  I’d give anything to be able to pack my broomstick and fly off to Hogwarts for a term or two.

2. Macbeth by William Shakespeare: 
Leaving aside the sheer bardy-brilliance of language and plot, I just remember having a wonderful time at school when we studied this play.  For weeks after reading the witches’ scene, me and a little coven of friends could be found by the squashy bog at the bottom of the playing fields brewing up potions and chanting spells. I have since used the cauldron spell many times when teaching children, both for drama and creative writing. It never fails to spark their imaginations (and mine all over again).

1. Fairy Tale Witches (Various): 
Number One just had to be spitting cauldron full of all the fearsome hags of Fairy Tale. As a child reading through illustrated collections of stories, I would skim past the princesses to stare entranced and horrified at Rapunzel’s captor, Snow White’s step mother or - best of all - the child-cooking, gingerbread-dwelling witch in Hansel and Gretel.  Think how well Disney has captured these characters - the marvellously malevolent Maleficent, for one! It is the bad old gals who make these stories soar with their curses and potions, hexes and spells. The chill of horror and the thrill of power is an ever-potent and enticing mix. Yikes!

Thank you, Lou, for guest posting! It was wonderful to see what witch-y books you love to read! I love reading stories about witches, and their mystical powers! Reading The Witches by Roald Dhal was one of the novels that got me into reading, and I normally recommend it to those who want to a read a good witch based story. (That, and Winnie the Witch because she's an awesome character!)

Bella Broomstick by Lou Kuenzler.
Published by Scholastic Books on January, 7th, 2016.
Genres Middle grade, Children's, Fantasy.
Pages 282.
Format ARC.
Source Scholastic Books.
Synopsis:
Bella Broomstick is a hopeless witch. So hopeless that nasty Aunt Hemlock is sending her to live in Person World - with the warning that she must never do magic again! But when Bella finds a kitten in trouble, a spell is the only way to rescue it. What is Bella to do? For where there is magic, trouble is never far away!

four-stars

Bella Broomstick was a witty and strange novel, and I found myself occasionally giggling to Kuenzler's writing. It's been a while since I've read a novel about witches, so when I began reading Bella Broomstick I was excited to delve back into the world of spells, pointy hats and everything else to do with them. Lou Kuenzler's writing was amazing, and the tone really set the mood for her latest novel. 

Bella is an awful witch: she cannot perform simple spells, and she doesn't even look like a witch. Bella shouldn't even be a witch, because she's that hopeless. Well, that's what Bella's horrible Aunt Hemlock says so. And because Bella is such a hopeless witch, Aunt Hemlock is sending her to the Person World because at least Bella will fit in with everybody else. But Bella can't always seem to stay away from magic...

There isn't enough words to describe how much I enjoyed this book! I pretty much read Bella Broomstick within a day because I was glued to the pages, it was fantastic! I really loved meeting Bella, and seeing her character develop throughout the course of the book. From the moment that I met Bella, I connected with her and I adored spending my time with her. Lou Kuenzler has created an interesting set of characters, and I do have to say that my favourite was Rascal - who's a cat. (I'm a cat person.) I enjoyed seeing that the side characters had equal roles in Bella Broomstick, and I thought that they were perfectly written for this book. 

Bella Broomstick had a very The Worst Witch feel to it; which was fantastic! The emotions that I felt while reading Kuenzler's book were phenomenal, there was the perfect amount of happiness, fear and sadness - there wasn't too much of one emotion. It was perfect. I recommend Bella Broomstick if you love stories like The Worst Witch or any other cute witch-y novels, then Bella Broomstick is the one for you! 

I thought that Kuenzler added a lot of detail into Bella Broomstick, which really helped me think about how Bella and the other characters acted - as well as the setting of the main part of the book. I loved reading Bella Broomstick and I hope that there is a squeal to this phenomenal novel! 




To find out more about Lou Kuenzler, go to her website by clicking here, or follow her on Twitter: @LouKuenzler.


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