Tuesday, June 21, 2022

Happy Book Birthday, Spellbound by Jess Townes!

The moment I saw today's read, I had to take a peek...and the blurb more than catches the attention, too. Magic plays with the cover, and the little girl's expression tells so much. Add that baby pinning down her cape, and this was one I really didn't want to skip over.

(Especially since it's the perfect distraction from the hot, sweaty job of wood splitting I've been up to lately...perfect excuse to sit by the air conditioner!)

Ready for some magic? 

an enchanting new arrival
by Jess Townes
Illustrated by Jennifer Harney
Union Square Kids
Picture Book
32 pages
ages 4 to 8

A funny, fresh twist on new-sibling relationships and the magic of love.       
Willow's world is perfectly magical, until Rowan is born. When her new baby brother seems to enchant everyone he meets, Willow becomes convinced he is an actual, real-life wizard. Can Willow put a stop to his hocus pocus, or is Rowan's magic too powerful to resist?
Author Jess Townes brings fresh and expressive writing that's sure to appeal to young children, while illustrator Jenn Harney's unique and colorful art style brings this wonderful, whimsical story to life.



Magic and imagination sparkle and shine in a cute tale about new siblings, mesmerization, and a little sharing, too.

Willow lives with magic surrounding her at all times, and her family loves to watch her create one spell after the other. Everything is wonderful until the new, baby brother arrives. He's cute and sweet...and, obviously, an evil wizard. No one notices Willow anymore, but she refuses to fall prey to his magic and give in.

This tale dances on the edge of a child's rich world of imagination and reality, making the lines wonderfully blurred enough to let fantasy play its magic. Willow is a bundle of cheer and energy as the wisps of her spells and charms swirl around her. It's fun to get caught up in her antics as she jumps from one amazing spell to the next to gain recognition from her family...until they don't notice her thanks to the new baby brother. The disappointment hits with a little confusion and subtly builds in a way readers/listeners can sympathize with and understand. 

The illustrations are colorful, natural, and give realistic details, while still allowing the magic to meld right in. As Willow's troubles grow, so does the magical, purple swirl of her brother's, until her yellow magic is almost gone from the scenes. It plays right along with the text, which flows as smoothly as the spells, and creates scenes, which will be hearing the words 'again' more than once.

There tons of family love (even the grandma gets involved) and positivity. When the jealousy rises, there's never malice...just stubbornness, which readers/listeners are sure to recognize. The end is quick (very quick), tidy, and a heart-filled moment, which demands a smile. 

While this book, obviously, hits readers/listeners with young siblings spot on, it's a fun tale, which will have even those without rolling in its spell.

And here they are...

JESS TOWNES is a children’s author living in Missouri with her wildly creative family, a sixty-pound lap dog, and two curious black cats. In her former work as a doula and lactation counselor, Jess was privileged to bear regular witness to the magic a new baby brings. You can find her online at jesstownes.com.

JENN HARNEY is the illustrator of Spellbound. She also illustrated the picture book How to Become a Knight by Todd Tarpley (Sterling). Jenn lives in Cleveland, Ohio, with her family, a dog named Steve and the ghost of the oldest living goldfish in North America. You can find her online at jkharney.blogspot.com, Twitter, and Instagram.

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