Recommended for ages 8-13
Remember those lunch ladies when you were in elementary school? Remember how so many of them would slop that unidentifiable morass of…something onto your plate, almost gleeful at your confused or terrified expression. Meet Grunhilda, everyone. With fewer and fewer people believing in magic, she’s out of a job and down on her luck. So what’s a poor witch, with generations of experience stirring up cauldrons of trouble (and possibly, children) to do? You guessed it: she puts on a hairnet and an apron, and goes to work as a lunch lady in a school cafeteria. You’re seeing things from your childhood a lot more clearly now, aren’t you?
Being a cafeteria lady is awesome. Grunhilda cooks up awful pots full of foulness that turn kids’ stomachs upside down, and almost no one seems the wiser. Except for Madison, a quirky kid that kind of sees Grunhilda for who she really is, and attempts to blackmail Grunhilda into helping her. When things go awry for Madison, will Grunhilda actually help a kid? And if she does, how will the witch community feel about that?
The Lunch Witch is one of those graphic novels that works great for readers of all ages. It would go so well with a unit on fairy tales, as a kind of epilogue – what happens to the wicked witch when everyone else lives happily ever after? Fairy tales, and re-tellings of fairy tales, are experiencing a renaissance in media and in the classroom these days, so teachers and parents, jump on this!
I loved the look of this book. The book itself looks like an old tale, with stained-looking pages and black, white, and grey/olive artwork. The occasional use of color is impactful, whether it’s to draw attention to a frog or show the jarring blue of a cafeteria door.
There is some delightfully morbid humor, too. After all, witches aren’t known for being sunshine and flowers, unless you’re talking about Glinda the Good Witch. Any original Grimm’s fairy tale will tell you that these ladies were formidable in their own right. Ms. Lucke uses these awful characteristics to make Gruhhilda’s plight even more desperate in this day and age. You really can’t get away with grave robbery, and how many kids are getting left in the forest to happen upon a candy house these days?
I’d love to see some more Lunch Witch adventures! In the meantime, give this book to your younger readers, and get ready for some laughs when they start looking at the lunch lady differently.
The Lunch Witch is on sale in stores now.