From School Library Journal
PreSchool-Grade 3–Poor Margaret lives with her mean older brother and sister in a cottage in the woods. Forced to cook and clean, she decides to run away. She meets an old woman who offers to pay her three gold coins if she can retrieve a star-topped walking stick from a dog that has run off with it. Unbeknownst to Margaret, the woman is really a mean-spirited witch who has used her walking stick to make a thousand miserable wishes that have wreaked magical mayhem throughout the forest. Meanwhile the dog, magic stick in mouth, is wishing for someone to throw it for him and–voila! along comes Margaret. With the ratty, drool-covered stick in hand, Margaret recognizes that it belongs to the old woman. As she wishes she knew why it could be worth gold, her wish is granted and she instantly knows that it is bewitched. She decides to borrow it for an hour or so and give her siblings their comeuppance (though she kindly declines to leave them permanently transformed as, respectively, a pig and a ham sandwich). When she returns the now wished-out stick to the witch, the hag breaks it in a fit of pique, leaving Margaret with a dog and a happier home. Illustrated with watercolor and ink in a style that will put readers in mind of William Steig, Meddaugh's dry, quirky tale of the little guy triumphing over adversity will have children smiling and cheering.–Marge Loch-Wouters, Menasha's Public Library, WI
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
PreS-Gr. 2. This droll original fairy tale treats timeless themes of injustice and comeuppance. When a dog runs off with a magic stick belonging to a witch who uses it to torment helpless animals, Margaret intercepts it and targets more deserving victims: her cruel elder siblings, who are "selfish, mean, and twice as big as [she is]." Pancake-gobbling, greedy sis metamorphoses into a fat pink pig; brother, who "feels like a sandwich for lunch," becomes a giant ham-on-rye. The bossy pair never misbehave again; nor does the nasty witch, as Margaret has unwittingly used up the stick's power. Although Meddaugh's followers may miss the amusing balloon dialogue that enlivens her Martha books, they will certainly spot the family resemblance between Martha and this book's tongue-lolling, ever-ravenous canine, and the more traditional narrative line does facilitate sharing with large groups. Younger siblings will particularly sympathize with the deceptively tiny Margaret, and cheer her on as she exacts her fierce, gleeful vengeance upon her oh-so-deserving elders. Jennifer MattsonCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved