Sadie’s Story by Christine Heppermann and Ron Koertge, illustrated by Deborah Marcero

Published by Greenwillow 

Summary: In this first installment of new series Backyard Witch, Sadie is feeling lonely when her two best friends go on vacation without her. When she sees smoke coming from her playhouse chimney, she’s sure the house is on fire. Turns out a witch by the name of Ms. M has taken up residence. She’s looking for her best friend Ethel, who has recently turned into a bird, and her cat Onyx, who went after Ethel and disappeared. Sadie joins Ms. M in her search, and learns a good deal about birds and birdwatching in the process. She helps Ms. M find Onyx, but Ethel’s whereabouts remains a mystery, and in the end, Ms. M leaves to pursue a lead on her in Mexico. Sadie’s friends return around the same time, and the book ends with Sadie about to tell them about her adventures. Grades 1-4.

Pros: This beginning chapter book would appeal to fans of Ivy and Bean or Judy Moody. The end material offers some enthusiastic information about birdwatching.

Cons: Sadie seemed like a slightly more passive heroine than Judy Moody or Clementine.

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