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Magic Trixie Paperback – July 22, 2008
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From School Library Journal
Grade 3–5—With a charming amount of sass, Magic Trixie starts her week on the wrong side of the bed. First, her baby sister ruins her chance for cloudberry pancakes. Then she finds out she has to do show-and-tell at the end of the week. As time goes on, Trixie frets about what to take to school. Finally, she decides to take her sister and show everyone a neat disappearing spell. That would solve two problems at once. Frantic, silly, and earnest, Trixie is a delightful little witch. Her dead-on expressions will leave all kids laughing in the aisles, quick to share her stories. The playful art and bright colors splashed on the page bring the child and her supernatural friends to life.—Sadie Mattox, DeKalb County Public Library, Decatur, GA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Magic Trixie may be the big sister, but her family pays more attention to baby Abby Cadabra and, she’s convinced, doesn’t let her have any fun. At Monstersorri School, everyone is going to be doing something special for show-and-tell, but they’ve already seen all the magic spells that Trixie knows. She feels she has to do something that will make everyone go Wow! but none of the adults will allow her to touch the big magic wand, the magic cauldron, or the spell book. What can she do? Finally, she remembers she knows one more spell: making something disappear. In this graphic novel, Thompson has created a loving, close family and a great group of friends and classmates of Trixie’s that also happen to be witches, monsters, vampires, mummies, werewolves, and ghosts. Bright colors and a whimsical style make everything friendly rather than scary. Underneath the supernatural trappings lies a classic story of sibling envy to which every big sister and big brother can relate. Grades 3-5. --Kat Kan
Top customer reviews
This story is cute, with somewhat waky characters. Trixie is a little witch, and her classmates are little vampires, frankesteins, mummies and werewolves. None of the illustrations are scary and some of the them are quite funny. Trixie's cat is really a cool character.
Great part of the book is devoted to tell how Trixie's baby sister is allowed to do things Trixie is not, or how she annoys Trixie. I think it would suit families that are going through the older brother/sister jelausy phase.
The school scenes are fun (my son liked the way the Franken kid body parts could come off!) but not really grapping for us.
Just to be clear, we love stories with girls as main characters. But if you are looking for an adventure sort of girl, you might like "Zita the Space Girl" series better.
We are used to graphic novels and comics, but some of illustrations in this book, though elaborate and very well done, were not our cup of tea.
The art is rich and vibrant, with many things to discover on subsequent re-reads. The stories are compelling, delightful, and full of details and asides that seem like private jokes between the author and you. The characters leap off the page. Jill is a master of capturing kid expressions. And she's a master at keeping adults entertained while the kids are captivated. It's so interesting watching my kids enjoy one aspect of these books--like the cool magic stuff--and then years later find something else, like identifying with how the characters feel in the various otherworldly (yet emotionally familiar) situations.
If you have kids, and maybe even if you don't, you'll find these books being enjoyed for years and years.
And that's just good value!
Today could probably be called a bad day, from Magic Trixie's point of view. As always, her new baby sister is hogging everyone's attention. Her grandpa beat her down the stairs so she has to eat prune pancakes for breakfast, her dad won't drive her to work, she brought the wrong lunch to school, and now to top it all off next week is show-and-tell week and Trixie doesn't have anything she can do to impress her friends. That is, until she gets a cunning plan. A plan that goes wrong in all the right ways.
I can pinpoint the exact moment when the book won me over. I had been intrigued by the fun choices Thompson had made regarding werewolves in flip-flops and mummies passing notes. But when Trixie's grandmother showed up at school, I was a goner. I have never quite seen a middle grade author completely capture a phenomenon that is more recognizable to kids today than it was in the past. Are any of you familiar with grandparents who dislike the notion of being recognized AS grandparents? The ones who prefer to be called names like "Mimi"? I swear I've never seen this entity so well displayed as Trixie's "Mimi" who is portrayed so perfectly in this book. The green fishnet tights. The leopard print high-heeled boots. The blond hair and serious facial work done over the years. Just blew me away, it did. After she leaves the other kids discuss their own grandparents and another one has "a mimi" that's rather similar to Trixie's (though she prefers to be called "Cookie"). In any case, it wouldn't have worked if Thompson had only gone halfway but since the picture is so over the top the shock of it completely won me over, heart and soul.
The heart and soul of the story is just your basic sibling rivalry tale, which a lot of kids can dig. A mistake made by people doing graphic novels for younger kids is to rest entirely on the belief that the visual elements of the story will be so strong that you won't need a cohesive story to pair alongside it. And if you do have a story, if your tale is set in a magical world then it will have to be some "Secrets of Droon"-like alternate world without a hook in kids' everyday reality. "Magic Trixie", however, is aware that while the characters are capable of magic, grounding everything in a big sister/little sister context is absolutely necessary. Then you can throw in fun elements like albino vampires and Hispanic werewolves and they're just great supplements; not something your entire tale rests on for the sake of quality. Other elements keep it interesting. The baby is never entirely seen until the moment when Trixie, having snuck her into school for nefarious purposes, finds her surprise revealed too early. This is a good idea, though the baby is a surprisingly attractive little cuss. And it's a good city book. Lots of attention to detail is spent on place and setting, though we never really find out what city all this takes place in. It's New Yorkish, certainly, with the school appearing in a kind of Central Park area.
The lettering is by Jason Arthur, sure, but it's based entirely on Jill Thompson's own hand letters. However, I'm not entirely certain who did the inking and the coloring for this book. Is that Thompson too, or was someone entirely uncredited involved in that process? Because the colors really give the book some kick. There is a rule of thumb amongst some publishers that states that kids will not read a comic if it's in black and white. And while I'll agree that a colored "Bone" reprinted by Graphix is far tastier than its original b&w format, kids have been happily devouring comics, comic books, and online cartoons without a smidgen of interest in color for decades now. And "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" may sport some magnificent covers, but inside it's a colorless humorous world as far as the eye can see. Still and all, while I'm sure a muted "Magic Trixie" would have been just as fun, I'm glad indeed that Harper Collins decided to give her a Technicolor kick.
Though she's prone to the occasional "rememborize" and other Junie B. Jones-type purposeful mispronunciations, "Magic Trixie" is not your typical spunky redheaded heroine. Well . . . okay, maybe Trixie herself is, but the book is very much a group effort on the part of the characters. A monster book with a girl heroine, it may make the odd leap across gender lines if people are willing to help it to do so. I would bet that there's many a little boy who'd like to read "Magic Trixie" and all its vampires, mummies, monsters, and werewolves even if it DOES sport a girl witch and a kitten on its cover. Funny, well-drawn, and original to its core, if you're in need of a new graphic novel for a young child, "Magic Trixie" is more than the sum of its parts.
I paint all the illustrations on the page myself. The process goes from pencil drawing to color with no actual 'inking' at all. By that I mean there is no india ink used. It is all watercolor with a watercolor painted line in lieu of the traditional comic book 'inking'.
I hope that helps fill in the gaps as far as color and technique.