Pure Dead Magic
Signor Strega-Borgia has deserted his family. The house (and family) are badly in need of a nanny, housekeeper, and cook rolled into one. A man-eating crocodile inhabits the moat. Great-great-great-great-great-great- grandmother sleeps preserved in the freezer, patiently waiting the day when the cure for old age will be found.
Everything seems to be going wrong in the Strega-Borgia family. Titus, Pandora, and baby sister Damp must go through a series of darkly zany, magical events to re-unite their family and find peace in their home.
I found myself able to relate to the characters and their emotions and hardships. The magic wasn't dwelt on heavily as in the Harry Potter books, it simply "was". It didn't seem extraordinary in the least to pull out a disposable wand or come across a talking spider in this crazy household!
With its simple prose and dark aspects, I found myself comparing the book to Angie Sage's new, delightful little "Araminta Spookie" series. Not quite as clever and funny as the Lemony Snicket books but more enjoyable then the Spiderwick Chronicles, I had fun with this romp of a story and will be looking eagerly for the next installments in this series at my local library.