Hocus and Pocus and the Spell for Home

 
4.3 (2)
 
0.0 (0)
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Hocus Pocus and a Spell for Home
Author(s)
Co-Authors / Illustrators
Age Range
4+
Release Date
May 28, 2024
ISBN
978-1536236729
Buy This Book
      
From award-winning author A. R. Capetta comes a new first-chapter-book series delivering plenty of puppies, magic, and charm.

Puppies Hocus and Pocus are still waiting to be adopted from the Shelter for Slightly Magical Pets. Even though Hocus can see two minutes into the future and Pocus can turn bad feelings into bubbles (which he eats!), nobody seems to want them. This could be because the two keep causing mischief so they won’t be separated. When Jinx the witch uses a “spell for home” potion to help a color-changing tortoise find his match, the puppies know what to do: sneak both their hairs into the mixture to ensure they get adopted together. But with these two, anything can happen—from a shrinking spell to giant bees! Can the puppies, along with Jinx and her young apprentices—witch Archer (he/him), wizard Ofelia (she/her), and warlock Tam (they/them)—fix the magical mess? And will they finally find a home, maybe even right under their noses? This adorable new series takes readers to a vibrant world full of magic, community, surprises, and welcoming homes.

Editor reviews

2 reviews
fantastic illustrated early chapter book
Overall rating
 
5.0
Plot
 
5.0
Characters
 
5.0
Writing Style
 
5.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
 
5.0
HOCUS AND POCUS AND THE SPELL FOR HOME is a charming chapter book about finding a place to belong. A witch named Jinx found five puppies and realized they were slightly magical, so she brought them to the Shelter for Slightly Magical Pets where they would be taken care of until they could be adopted. While three of the pups were quickly adopted, Hocus and Pocus remained. They wanted to be adopted together, so they would cause mischief whenever Hocus would look 2 minutes into the future and see that the people would only be adopting one or the other. Pocus can take negative feelings from people and make them into bubbles, which he could then eat.

Jinx comes in after a while with a spell for home that she uses to help an old tortoise find the perfect home. Since Hocus and Pocus have been there for a while, she decides to make the spell for each of them too. Fearing being separated, they slip into her bags so that they can make the potion a combined one and find a home together. Once at Jinx's house, they meet her three apprentices and find themselves in the middle of more mischief- but they also think they've found a home - if only Jinx wasn't worried about having her hands full with the apprentices and magic!

What I loved: This was such a sweet story of family, friendship, and belonging. The pups really come to life in the story with plenty of personality and silliness. The magical abilities added something extra to the book, and brings up plenty of fun opportunities for the future. The characters are all approached with a lot of love, and the pups get introduced to the three children apprentices from whom I am hoping to see even more in future books.

The story is inclusive with the way characters are introduced and addressed. The themes will resonate with young readers, who may sometimes cause their own mischief and value friendship and family. Seeing a story from an animal's perspective tends to be a hit in this age group, and this one is no exception! This is definitely a series we are looking forward to continuing.

This is a particularly special chapter book, as it includes large, full color illustrations throughout. It really bridges that gap between picture book and chapter books beautifully. The images are fantastic and unique, appealing to young readers who love pictures but are moving on to more in-depth stories. The font is large and easy to read throughout, making this a great series for early independent readers. The chapters are a good length, but not too intimidating.

Final verdict: With unforgettable characters, a delightful dose of magic, and enchanting illustrations, HOCUS AND POCUS AND THE SPELL FOR HOME is a charming early chapter book that is sure to be a hit with young independent readers. Themes of family, friendship, and belonging make this a relatable story that children can really sink their teeth into.
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Of COURSE puppies are magical!
Overall rating
 
3.5
Plot
 
4.0
Characters
 
3.0
Writing Style
 
3.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
 
4.0
Hocus and Pocus and the oldest and youngest of a slightly magical litter of puppies that a young witch finds and turns in to the local rescue. Because they are adorable puppies, it seems likely that they will be adopted quickly, but the two don't want to be adopted separately like their siblings Double, Trouble, and Toil. They come up with a plan to use their wiles to dissuade people from adopting only one of them, as well as their magical powers. Hocus can see two minutes into the future, and Pocus can make peoples' anxiety go away in a magical bubble. When months ago by and they are still not adopted, they change their tactic and hope to convince people to adopt them together. When the young witch who found them, Jinx, who uses she/her prounouns, comes to the shelter to look at another animal, they find out about her Spell for Home, and hope to use it for themselves. They stow away in her bags, brave a ride on her broom, and end up in her castle. They meet her three apprentices, including Archer (he/him), Ofelia (she/her) and Tam (they/them). The castle is very big and has lots of equipment and material in it, and the apprentices are very busy, so it doesn't take long for disaster to occur. Hocus and Pocus end up at the shelter again, and need to reassess. Luckily, Jinx has noticed that the Spell for Home on their behalf has turned blue, and she apologizes for not recognizing sooner that they would be a perfect fit for her. It turns out that they might be HIGHLY magical, and they will be back in another adventure, The Dragon Next Door, in the spring of 2025.

Good Points
This story has lots of pictures in full color, and has larger text and fewer words than some chapter books, so it's a good transition from I Can Read sorts of books. The colors are bright and engaging, and Hocus and Pocus are so cute that this will be an easy sell to any six to eight year old.

The magical elements all make sense, and the castle is an interesting setting. Who knows what magic these two furry friends might be able to manage after some tutelage from Jinx and her apprentices?

Magical puppies would be the absolute best, but there are other good early chapter books with magical connections as well. Once Hocus and Pocus cast their spell on your young readers, you can try Elliott's Dragons in a Bag, Citro's Zoey and Sassafras, Chapman's Star Friends, or Daisy Meadows' Magical Animal Friends to keep the magic alive.
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