The Courage of Cat Campbell - (Poppy Pendle) by Natasha Lowe (Hardcover)

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Cat may have been born to do magic, but she seems to not have inherited any magical ability. Her mother, Poppy, is deeply relieved, given her own disastrous history with spells (Poppy was the child protagonist of the captivating The Power of Poppy Pendle). Cat can't accept her own normalcy, though, and it turns out she's right: a moment with one of her greatest fears, spiders, seems to shake magic out of her. Terror-elicited powers are known to be extremely hard to tame, however, and Cat's so eager to try them out that she doesn't wait for proper training, turning her best friend into an animal and causing other disasters. There are no true villains this novel, just misunderstood people pushed beyond their reasonable tolerance into reaction. This nuance is warmly conveyed, and the characters are therefore all compelling, whether "bad" witch or plucky heroine; all of them mess up and all of them have the capacity to try to right their wrongs. Clever end materials offer recipes (all of which would produce yummy products, even without, for example, a griffin's tooth), simple spells, and advice to late-blooming witches. Fans of the earlier novel will rejoice in seeing how Poppy has managed to fulfill her own dreams, and they'll appreciate the headstrong daughter that she has raised, a realistic offspring given Poppy's own irascible, determined personality. AS--Bulletin "April 2015" Gender: unisex.

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