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Zena and the Witch Circus by Alice Low

Zena and the Witch Circus

by Alice Low

Other authors: Laura Cornell (Illustrator)

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Illustrations: ink, dye, and gouache painting. This book is about a little girl witch who is getting ready to enter into the circus. She realizes that all witches can fly and wants to find a different act that she can do. The Head Witch Hilda-grump tells Zena that she must come up with something different or she won't be able to compete in the school witch circus. Zena finds a special cat named Roger and discovers that he has a special gift. She performs with him and is a real crowd pleaser. This book is a fantasy book because witches are not real, but it is somewhat realistic. Age appropriateness: intermediate
  allieburks | Apr 6, 2017 |
Genre- ECB
Age- Intermediate
Summary- this book was about a girl who was a witch who performed in the circus, this year she is having trouble with her skills. All she knows how to do is fly and she has no magic tricks. she gets a mean note from someone that tells her she can't be in the circus unless she changes her act because its boring and every witch can fly. Finally she finds a friend that helps her and she is back in the circus again.
Review- I think that this book was okay i didn't like the mean attitudes in it. I didn't think the layout was that great but it is interesting to have. I would definitely have this in my class just to have more early child chapter books.
Media- painting ( )
  alopez19 | Apr 6, 2017 |
Alice Low, whose earlier tale of magical hi-jinks for beginning readers, The Witch Who Was Afraid of Witches - first published as a picture-book in 1978, it was reissued as part of the I Can Read series in 1999 - concerned a young witch who struggled with her craft, and felt herself the inferior of her peers, returns to that same theme in this beginning chapter-book from 1990. Part of Dial Book's Easy-to-Read series, Zena and the Witch Circus follows the story of Zena, whose only magical skill is flying. When she receives a note from Head Witch Hildagrump, informing her that she must either change her act (ie: incorporate more magic into it) or withdraw from her class's Witch Circus, she is terribly distraught. Hoping to think things over, Zena takes a flight over Witch Woods, and, in the process of rescuing Roger the cat from a dog - known to witches as "dragons" - inadvertently stumbles upon a method of demonstrating her magical ability to her teacher and classmates...

I can't say that Zena and the Witch Circus greatly appealed to me, which is rather surprising, since I thought Low's The Witch Who Was Afraid of Witches was really quite engaging. I found the narrative here - split into five very simple chapters - somewhat disjointed, and didn't really think that the whole dog/dragon plot-line was very convincing. More to the point, I had trouble working up any enthusiasm for the main character, which, given my penchant for witchy tales and heroines, is saying something. The artwork by Laura Cornell, who has illustrated a number of Jamie Lee Curtis' picture-books, was colorful and amusing, but not enough to save the venture. I recommend that witch-mad young readers try Low's The Witch Who Was Afraid of Witches instead - or, better yet, my personal favorite, Patricia Coombs' Dorrie the Little Witch! ( )
1 vote AbigailAdams26 | Apr 18, 2013 |
Zena, the smallest witch in her class, excels in flying. It is one of the only talents that she possesses as a witch. After the Head Witch, Hildagrump tells Zena that she can't use flying for her act at this year's School Witch Circus, Zena becomes a little ball of stress. In her gloom, Zena flies away to the Witch Woods to get some time to herself; where she saves a cat named Roger from a big dog that she believes to be a dragon. The two fly around for some time discussing their fear of "dragons" (dogs), and eventually crash into a tree when Zena begins to show off. After her broomstick breaks, the two are really in a pickle. When they hear the barking dog, they decide that Zena will try to say a spell to create a giant to scare off the dog. Zena is nervous because she can't do magic or spells. So, when her spells turns the dog into an even bigger, dragon dog, she gets very sad. Roger reassures her, that she did do magic, it just didn't work the right way. This cheers Zena up slightly and she realizes that she can say a spell to fix her broomstick. Upon doing so, they escape to the circus to ask the other witches for help. However, the dragon dog follows and scares all of the other witches there. Zena finds the courage to say her spell backwards, shrinking the dog to the size of a small puppy. The other witches are so grateful for Zena that they coin her, "Zena the Dragon-tamer." She wins the first prize at the circus and keeps her spell a secret for herself. ( )
  neilliej | May 24, 2010 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Alice Lowprimary authorall editionscalculated
Cornell, LauraIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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A magically untalented witch is barred from performing in the Witch Circus until one day when she becomes a hero. A small witch, Zena, has trouble with her magic, but succeeds in taming the witches' dragon, a dog, by shrinking him into a puppy with softly spoken magic. Whimsical, lively pen and wash sketches add dashes of color and humor.… (more)

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