One Witch at a Time

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Release Date
February 10, 2015
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When Rudi Bauer sets out for town one morning to trade, he never dreams that Susanna Louisa will sell his family’s cow—for magic beans, no less! But that’s exactly what she does, and the consequences will be disastrous unless Rudi can return the magic beans to their rightful owner, the evil witch of Petz. The journey to Petz is long and hard, but Rudi and Susanna Louisa soon find a shortcut: a magically sprouted beanstalk leads them straight there...and straight into danger. Because the evil witch of Petz is a terrible giant who has locked away summer and keeps his kingdom a frozen wasteland. And in order to defeat him, Rudi is going to need a little magic of his own.

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Fun and Imaginative take on 'Jack and the Beanstalk'
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One Witch at a Time takes a spin on the traditional ‘Jack and the Beanstalk’ tale. Rudi Bauer just wanted to have a good, successful day at the market place when his neighbor, Susanna Louisa, sells his family cow for beans. When the beans prove to be magical, magic from a source they shouldn’t have, Rudi, Susanna, and a strange girl named Agatha go on a journey they won’t forget.

The premise for this story is adorable. The twists on ‘Jack and the Beanstalk’ are fun and different, especially the use of the beanstalks. Susanna and Rudi both feel realistic and true to their ages. Rudi’s desire to be seen as worthy and noticeable will settle with many readers his age, as will his reluctant but brotherly relationship with Susanna. The frequent appearances of the Brixen Witch are hilarious and enjoyable as well.

As much as I enjoyed the premise, the plot fell a bit flat for me. Though the novel is short, the pacing drags at times, and it leads to a disappointing climax. The witch of Petz feels one-dimensional, and there is little urgency in defeating him. Agatha and Rudi wrap up their journey easily with little room for character development. However, Agatha and Rudi are still charming, and they work well together as a team.

Though this story had areas that left me wanting more, this is an overall entertaining story, perfect for readers looking for a quick and fun read. The premise is imaginative and delightful, and this would make a good choice for fans of unique retellings.
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