Posted in Fiction, Graphic Novels, Humor, Middle Grade

Oh No! The Lunch Witch is Knee Deep in Niceness!

lunch-witchThe Lunch Witch #2: Knee-Deep in Niceness, by Deb Lucke, (Oct. 2016, Papercutz), $14.99, ISBN: 9781629915036

Recommended for ages 8-12

In this sequel to 2014’s Lunch Witch, Grunhilda is still pulling shenanigans at the school cafeteria – lately, she’s been putting chopped-up pink erasers into the ham and beans – but there’s a soft spot on that black and crusty heart of hers. She tries to hide it from her ancestors and her familiars: she gets a letter from Madison, the student she kinda sorta befriended in the first book, and keeps it hidden under her mattress. But Mr. Williams, her dog, knows something’s up, and finds the letter. Distressed, he talks the familiars into finding a cure: a meanness potion from the book that IS NOT TO BE USED BY ANYONE OTHER THAN WITCHES. What could go wrong, right? Right.

Mr. Williams mixes up a positivity potion, further illustrating why the spell book is NOT TO BE USED BY ANYONE OTHER THAN WITCHES. The positive vibes spread to the whole town; the ancestors are aghast, and Brunhilda has to fix things before her own black and crusty heart gives way to the shiny happy people business that’s running rampant.

The first Lunch Witch novel is still hugely popular – it’s still circulating here in my library, and kids are still asking for it by name. Wait until I put this one up. I love the rainbow beam, almost capturing Brunhilda in its happy rays on the cover. The interior art is still wonderfully bleak, in its blacks, browns, and washed out whites; the occasional splashes of color are fun and add effect (and humor, especially when Mr. Williams has to wee). Add this one to your graphic novel collections and give a copy to your Lunch Witch fans; they’ll lap it up.



Teaching Lunch Witch in your classroom? There’s an Educator’s Guide on the Papercutz website – I hope they add one for the new book, but you can always expand on the first one by creating new vocabulary lists and creating some discussion questions about the new story. Visit The Lunch Witch’s website for “recipes”, character profiles, and a Bad Advice section.

Posted in Fiction, Graphic Novels, Middle Grade

The Lunch Witch will have you looking at your lunch ladies in a whole new light.

lunch-witchThe Lunch Witch, by Deb Lucke (PaperCutz, 2014) $14.99 ISBN: 978-1-62991-162-5

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.