Author: Hoffman, Alice
Twig, aged twelve, is practically ignored by classmates and other residents of Sidwell, Massachusetts, but gets along fine with just her mother and brother, whose presence must be kept secret, until descendants of the witch who cursed her family move in next door and want to be her friends.
Download a Teacher's Guide
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: MG
Reading Level: 5.40
Points: 6.0 Quiz: 173692
|Reading Counts Information:|
Interest Level: 3-5
Reading Level: 5.50
Points: 10.0 Quiz: 69825
Kirkus Reviews (01/01/15)
School Library Journal (01/01/15)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (05/15)
The Hornbook (00/05/15)
Full Text Reviews:
School Library Journal - 01/01/2015 Gr 4–6—A sweet, if somewhat uneven middle grade tale by beloved adult author Hoffman. Twig is the daughter of the best baker in the town of Sidwell, NY. But Twig has a secret—the town doesn't know that she has an older brother, James, hidden away because of his large black wings, a result of the curse on the men in their family. James's clandestine nighttime jaunts around Sidwell have led fractious locals to talk of hunting down "the monster" in their midst. When a new family moves into the cottage that belonged to the witch who cursed Twig's ancestor, events are set in motion that will change all of their lives forever. Hoffman juggles multiple themes: an environmental thread, with a focus on the rare owls in the woods around Twig's home; a broken family thread (Twig hasn't seen or heard from her father since she was a toddler); a friendship tale of outsiders finding each other; along with bits of romance, curses, and magic. A clever narrator, beautiful imagery, and the quirky cast of secondary characters who populate the oddball town are the bright spots in this mix of fantasy and mystery. Unfortunately, the climax ties every plot line together neatly, and the overly pat ending undercuts an otherwise sophisticated narrative. Still, the spunky protagonist, copious descriptions of mouth-watering baked goods, and terrific cover art guarantee this magical story will find an audience.—Elisabeth Gattullo Marrocolla, Darien Library, CT - Copyright 2015 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Booklist - 01/01/2015 Twig and her mom live in tiny Sidwell, a wooded New England town with a witchy history. When her reclusive mom isn’t baking one-of-a-kind pies from their orchard’s apples, she is concealing Twig’s brother, James, who sports a pair of black feathery wings, courtesy of a curse placed on their family by the Sidwell witch centuries ago. Rumors are swirling about the Sidwell Monster, and Twig and her mother fear that James is in danger, since he has been spotted winging around town in the middle of the night. When a new family moves in next door (direct descendants of the witch who cursed Twig’s family), Twig cannot resist her new neighbor Julia’s friendship, and James cannot resist Julia’s enchanting sister, Agate. Soon Twig and her new friend realize that James and Agate are heading down the same path that led Julia’s ancestor to curse Twig’s, and they set out to undo the curse. Best-selling Hoffman offers a quiet, gentle fantasy where crossroads and moonlight have magical uses, and friendship and determination can heal centuries-old wounds. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: With a handful of best-sellers under her belt, it’s no surprise that Hoffman’s publisher is planning a big campaign for this one, too. - Copyright 2015 Booklist.
Bulletin for the Center... - 05/01/2015 Twelve-year old Twig has learned not to draw too much attention to herself, not to make friends, and to mostly stay home with her mother and older brother, James, in order to guard the family secret: because of a witch’s curse, James has wings. At the same time, town residents believe they have a resident monster, one that snatches items from people’s homes and paints grotesque signs protesting the razing of the local woods; while James has nothing to do with this, his family fears the rising furor may spark a monster hunt and reveal James’s existence. When descendants of the witch who cursed the family move in next door, Twig begins a clandestine friendship with the younger sister, while her brother falls in love with the older, pushing the foursome to find a way to undo the curse. Spare, evocative prose makes Twig’s loneliness palpable, and the savvy revelation of details will have readers gasping. Hoffman’s characterizations are particularly well done, from the waitress at the local diner to the town librarian, and Twig herself is keenly sympathetic, with an honest but understated narrative voice that belies much pain and confusion. The tone is wonderfully haunting, with mystery, magic, heartache, and hope bound together so charmingly that the convenience of the plot points and pat statements are quickly forgiven. Even the joyous ending maintains the subtly eerie mood, leaving it easy to imagine an adult novel about an adult Twig not too far in the future. An excellent entry into Hoffman’s world of magical realism, this is one for kids who need hope, magic, or a little of both. AA - Copyright 2015 The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.