Miss Cast and the Headhamster (Miss Cast! Book 1) by LJ Pickles
A Middle-Grade Fantasy Novel Independently published (05/25/21)
First reviewed through Reedsy Discovery as an ARC
“I didn’t need a crystal ball to know that having a witch as a teacher could spell trouble for my innocent classmates” (Page 27).
There’s something odd about Gareth’s new schoolteacher but none of the other children seem to notice. Miss Cast must be a witch! Maybe Gareth can use this knowledge to his advantage unless Miss Cast accidentally or on purpose does something that can’t be reversed. Like, turn all the children into frogs!
Middle Grade, Humor, Sword & Sorcery, Fantasy, Witches, Class, Learning, Frogs, Magic, Spell, Revenge, Lessons, Transformation
The tone of this middle-grade children’s book is light and humorous. The writing style reminds me of Roald Dahl or the Wayside School children’s books by Louis Sachar. Even after twenty years, I remember the delightfully funny humor of Dahl and Sachar, even if I’ve forgotten the books themselves. Miss Cast and the Headhamster will definitely leave an impression on the reader. Even the title is amusing if you look closely.
The very first chapter ends with some very exciting action and you won’t want to put the book down. The pacing kept me hooked, even though the beginning half was dialogue-heavy. Miss Cast talks a lot! She doesn’t know much about teaching, schools, or kids. She’s a witch in disguise but Gareth can’t be spelled. The way she talks will catch you off guard. Miss Cast says the funniest things in the funniest of ways. She doesn’t talk much like an adult – more like she’s a grown-up child – which is rather hilarious when you picture her as a pointy chinned, green-skinned, and warty witch with a bat in her hair and a wand up her sleeve.
If this was a book you were reading to your class or your own kid, you would be just as amused as your young one. Adult readers will be fascinated by the way the adults in the book continuously insult children as if it’s normal, calling them “squashed face” and “know-it-all” as if this story was written by a kid. The children in the book don’t seem to notice these insults. Gareth is much too preoccupied and obsessed with having been cheated by Brian in the egg-and-spoon race. He brings it up again and again!
I think it’s fun that Miss Cast, being over three hundred years old, is the witch in all the fairy tales – the wicked witch in Snow White and the wicked witch in Hansel and Gretel and the wicked witch in Ariel to name all the stories Miss Cast told during class.
My favorite parts were the turns of phrases like “brain of a hashed brown.” (Page 53) sprinkled throughout the book which really gave the book a whimsical and imaginative quality.
I loved the cute illustrations here and there throughout the book.
This novel was Independently published on 05/25/2021 and is available on Amazon here.
TL;DR Star Rating: 4.75
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