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  • Margaret

Picklewitch and Jack by Claire Barker, illustrated by Teemu Juhani

Jack has won the Most Sensible Boy in the School prize three years running, but he's never managed to make a friend. Still, that's about to change at his new school for super-bright children he's sure to chum up with someone smart, clever, organised, logical and most of all sensible. Someone just like him. Isn't he? No dear reader, he is not. He is going to be chosen as a best friend by Picklewitch, a small, unreasonable, subversive, infuriating witch who relentlessly disrupts his life. She's that friend who locks your science teacher in a cupboard and blames it on you, explodes the cake you're making (blames it on you), steals the school cat (your fault again, apparently) and nearly gets you expelled. Obsessed with cake to an unseemly degree (she should get a job in a bookshop), prone to singing loud, rude songs about badger's bums, very likely to switch Jack's lovely lunchbox full of sensible sandwiches for her own (which is full of worms and maggots), Picklewitch is not the ideal best friend. Or... is she? Maybe she is! She's a nightmare, but she's Jack's nightmare. She drives him mad but it's boring without her. She has a genius for saving the day and defeating Jack's enemies in a spectacularly disruptive fashion. She's fun, and so is this delightful book. Exuberant illustrations by the excellent Teemu Juhani combine with Claire Barker's hilarious storytelling talent to make this lovely, funny, autumnal read unmissable. Very entertaining indeed. 7+

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