The 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.