The Witch Boy (The Witch Boy #1)
In thirteen-year-old Aster's family, all the girls are raised to be witches, while boys grow up to be shapeshifters. Anyone who dares cross those lines is exiled. Unfortunately for Aster, he still hasn't shifted . . . and he's still fascinated by witchery, no matter how forbidden it might be.When a mysterious danger threatens the other boys, Aster knows he can help -- as a witch. It will take the encouragement of a new friend, the non-magical and non-conforming Charlie, to convince Aster to try practicing his skills. And it will require even more courage to save his family . . . and be truly himself.

The Witch Boy (The Witch Boy #1) Details

TitleThe Witch Boy (The Witch Boy #1)
Author
ReleaseNov 1st, 2017
PublisherScholastic
Rating
GenreSequential Art, Graphic Novels, Fantasy, Childrens, Middle Grade, Comics, Young Adult, Magic

The Witch Boy (The Witch Boy #1) Review

  • Adam Silvera
    January 1, 1970
    I've been wanting to read this MG graphic novel since I saw the book deal announcement and I'm so happy I got to read it on my flight today. The basic premise is that a boy wants to learn spells and other magic but witchery is reserved for girls and boys are expected to become shapeshifting demon hunters. I was OBSESSED with witches as a kid/teen (still am as an adult) and this would've really spoken to me. Overall, THE WITCH BOY is a super fast and super charming read. So excited to discover th I've been wanting to read this MG graphic novel since I saw the book deal announcement and I'm so happy I got to read it on my flight today. The basic premise is that a boy wants to learn spells and other magic but witchery is reserved for girls and boys are expected to become shapeshifting demon hunters. I was OBSESSED with witches as a kid/teen (still am as an adult) and this would've really spoken to me. Overall, THE WITCH BOY is a super fast and super charming read. So excited to discover there's going to be a sequel. I hope librarians/educators pick this graphic novel and get it into their hands of those who don't fit gender norms and those who need to learn how to celebrate's someone differences.
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  • Lola
    January 1, 1970
    This works very well as a standalone. I don’t feel as if there are unanswered questions or elements missing. Still, I wish to read more books about Aster and his magical community. The characters are strong. They all play a certain role in the story. It’s when you can’t imagine a book without its different characters that you realize they’ve left an impression on you and are worthy of being in the story. Aster is so relatable. In his world, women are witches who manipulate magic and men are shap This works very well as a standalone. I don’t feel as if there are unanswered questions or elements missing. Still, I wish to read more books about Aster and his magical community. The characters are strong. They all play a certain role in the story. It’s when you can’t imagine a book without its different characters that you realize they’ve left an impression on you and are worthy of being in the story. Aster is so relatable. In his world, women are witches who manipulate magic and men are shape shifters who turn into a certain animal and protect the community. But Aster can’t shape shift, and anyway, he doesn’t want to. It’s not him. Witchery calls to him instead.His situation is similar to many other people’s situations, even in our contemporary society without magic. These feelings of wanting to be whoever we are but fearing ostracism are universal. It wasn’t hard for me to connect with Astrid, and I believe it won’t be hard for other readers either.The illustrations are SPLENDID. My advance copy only had a few pages in color, but I’m sure the final book will be MAGNIFICENT. Very interesting story and formidable diverse characters. Too bad I have to say goodbye to them so soon. Blog | Youtube | Twitter | Instagram | Google+ | Bloglovin’
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  • Raeleen Lemay
    January 1, 1970
    This was fantastic! Magic + diverse characters + beautiful art = my kind of graphic novel
  • Korrina (OwlCrate)
    January 1, 1970
    Such a cute little graphic novel that challenges gender constructs in a unique way. Plus it's just a fun spooky magical story! My only complaint was that I wish it was a bit longer and more fleshed out. But I really enjoyed reading it.
  • Erica
    January 1, 1970
    This book has killed me and I am dead, typing out reviews from beyond the grave because I know how to live the best afterlife.Originally, this piqued my interest because of the title and cover. Witches? Yes, please. Boy witches? Interesting! Cute kid + monster shadow? I'm in!And if you like reading on the surface, that's exactly what this story is about - witches and shapeshifters, fitting in (or not), family, friendship, and terrible monsters.If you're more of a Find the Symbolism/Read Deeper/A This book has killed me and I am dead, typing out reviews from beyond the grave because I know how to live the best afterlife.Originally, this piqued my interest because of the title and cover. Witches? Yes, please. Boy witches? Interesting! Cute kid + monster shadow? I'm in!And if you like reading on the surface, that's exactly what this story is about - witches and shapeshifters, fitting in (or not), family, friendship, and terrible monsters.If you're more of a Find the Symbolism/Read Deeper/ALL THE ALLEGORIES! person, then you'll find a whole lot more going on including gender roles, societal expectations, diversity and acceptance, as well as witches and shapeshifters, fitting in (or not), family, friendship, and the making of terrible monsters and how that can be avoided.Here's what charmed me (I'm so clever with my words):1) The illustrations. They're adorable, colorful, well-rendered and, oddly, reminded me a lot of Noelle Stevenson's* work, even though everything is less pointy and not as thin-lined. It's got a similar feeeeeel, though. (ok, that looks more like Calvin and Hobbes but trust me, there's a Noelle Stevenson vibe running throughout, too)2) There is one gender norm pushed in this book (and it's pushed so it can be shattered) and all the others are nearly erased. The protagonist, Aster, has a girl-typical name and when compared to his cousins, looks effeminate. But he's a boy and that only matters because he's supposed to be a shapeshifter. Boys are shapeshifters, girls are witches. Those are the only roles to which genders must conform in this story. Otherwise, everyone is who they are. Aster's mother, Holly, is the ultimate earth mother type, primal femininity, nurturing, running around barefoot in her country dress. She looks like some Irish goddess. Aster's aunt Iris, though, looks like she came from a punk rock band and is all emotion and reaction. Other than Aster's dad, a thoughtful, family-oriented, slender-but-strong brown man, we don't get to see as much of the male counterparts and what we do see seems typically masculine, mostly, all except Aster. The other boys tease him because he sucks at doing what they do, shapeshifter stuff, athletic stuff, physical stuff, not because of his name or his looks or anything else.Aster meets Charlie, a super sporty black girl WITH THICK ANKLES!** who didn't even know magic really existed until she saw Aster doing witchery in her neighborhood. She knows who she is, what she wants, and where she's going. She is the epitome of being herself without caring what anyone else thinks about her. She's also somewhat reckless, as evidenced by her broken leg. It's only natural these two would fit together so well. 3) Aster and Charlie's friendship is perfect. There are no romantic under or overtones, they are so wonderfully comfortable with each other, they obviously love and admire one another a lot and they intentionally work together instead of doing that "I have to do this alone" nonsense. It's beautiful and I wish friendships like this were represented more often.4) There's one message that gets driven home, pointy end first. The rest of them are just there, lying around for the reader to pick up either intentionally or subconsciously. The cast is racially, genderly, sexually, aged-ly, all the other -ly's diverse. And it's unquestioned. Except for the storyline about defying gender norms, everything else is just accepted. What a great message to plant in the mind of the younguns: you're not like everyone else? That's fine. They're not like everyone else? Also fine. Find your commonalities and make friends among people with whom you connect while respecting everyone else even if you don't personally like them. And this simple message is there to witness but it's not preached, not at all. I loved that.I would recommend this book to everyone who likes books like Princeless #1, Lumberjanes, Nimona, hell even Rat Queens #1 if you're looking for something aimed at a younger audience, and for readers who love Raina Telgemeier and/or Faith Erin Hicks.*soooo...I'm reading the acknowledgements and at the end, Molly thanks her partner, Noelle, for making their house a home or something. Now, aside from my sister's, I don't see the name Noelle that often so the first one that came to mind, because she was already in my mind due to the aforementioned illustration style, I wondered...could Molly be talking about Noelle Stevenson? I mean, they'd know each other from being in the same industry, and all. I stalked them this morning and guess what? They're a couple! Which is kinda great because, in retrospect, I'd totally ship them even though I give no shits about people's relationships. These two are too perfect and adorable to not be together and they're melting my heart. I wonder if they need an aunt. I only have two nieces and two nephews, there's plenty of room for two more.**Thick ankles is something that is never talked about. Like, never! But it's such a worry for so many kids, mostly girls but also boys, especially athletic kids. You never ever see imagery of thick ankles on anyone who isn't pregnant, in which case it's shown as a symptom of pregnancy and is used to evoke sympathy or empathy, or fat, in which case it's shown as a symptom of being overweight and just think about how nice those legs would be if they didn't look like tree trunks, or old, in which case it's shown as a symptom of agedness when your body gives out and you can't be pretty anymore because you are ancient. But not everyone has thin ankles and some people, especially people who run and kick and use their legs a lot, have strong, hearty, not-thin ankles! It's not a terrible thing at all, it's not shameful, it's not a symptom of anything. It's a body part and unless you've got gout, you should not be worried about the size of your ankles so thank you, Molly, for bringing this up because more kids need to know that ankles aren't supposed to come in one size only.
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  • Vitor Martins
    January 1, 1970
    (Esse sou eu lendo quadrinhos para tentar bater a meta de leitura de 2017 hehe)The Witch Boy é uma história mágica sobre uma família de mulheres bruxas e homens metamorfos. Aster é um menino que quer aprender bruxaria mas ninguém na família quer ensiná-lo porque ele não deveria ser tão interessado em "coisas de menina". O roteiro é bem simples e tudo acontece dentro do esperado mas é muito bonito ver o arco de desenvolvimento do Asper. A mensagem de "seja quem você quer ser" que a história passa (Esse sou eu lendo quadrinhos para tentar bater a meta de leitura de 2017 hehe)The Witch Boy é uma história mágica sobre uma família de mulheres bruxas e homens metamorfos. Aster é um menino que quer aprender bruxaria mas ninguém na família quer ensiná-lo porque ele não deveria ser tão interessado em "coisas de menina". O roteiro é bem simples e tudo acontece dentro do esperado mas é muito bonito ver o arco de desenvolvimento do Asper. A mensagem de "seja quem você quer ser" que a história passa é colocada de maneira muito responsável e pode ser aplicada pra muitas áreas da vida. Falando sobre técnica, as ilustrações são maravilhosas, cenários incríveis e cores muito muito lindas! O traço da Molly Ostertag é do tipo que me inspira muito e essa história me deixou morrendo de vontade de escrever um quadrinho em um futuro próximo.
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  • Tatiana
    January 1, 1970
    I had wanted to read this after seeing so much excitement. To me, this book is about gender essentialism and the way it harms the people you're trying to force it on. I liked the art, and was glad to see lots of brown skinned (though I think they're black people) in the book. It's a MG graphic novel, which I didn't know going in. So if you're into that demographic, check this out.
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  • Skye Kilaen
    January 1, 1970
    Fairly straightforward but heartfelt tale about the toxicity of rigid gender roles, with lovely art because Molly Knox Ostertag is amazing. It's the story of Aster, a boy growing up in a society where women do magic and men shapeshift, and that's that. Except it isn't, because Aster does magic and doesn't shapeshift. What I particularly appreciated: (a) Aster's confidence-building friendship with a girl outside his community who also doesn't follow gender norms, (b) The diversity of skin color a Fairly straightforward but heartfelt tale about the toxicity of rigid gender roles, with lovely art because Molly Knox Ostertag is amazing. It's the story of Aster, a boy growing up in a society where women do magic and men shapeshift, and that's that. Except it isn't, because Aster does magic and doesn't shapeshift. What I particularly appreciated: (a) Aster's confidence-building friendship with a girl outside his community who also doesn't follow gender norms, (b) The diversity of skin color among the magical community, and (c) the magic system, because I would love to talk to a tree with a cool-looking symbol and have it give me an apple. The resolution with Aster's parents was bittersweet but realistic given that they're fundamentally good people but severely blindered by their culture. Hopefully every library in the entire country has this on the shelves, it's both entertaining and sorely needed.
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  • Bogi Takács
    January 1, 1970
    This was nice, the kind of gender representation that might even fly with right-wing parents just because it's mostly super-not-declaredly but-still-quite-clearly trans. (I live in Kansas. These books are needed.) Probably not going to review it at length for now, because I have a lot of other things to review, but it might go into my SFF comics highlights of 2017 (I'm still working on that one).Thank you Nino for recommending it :)Source of the book: Lawrence Public Library
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  • Sara
    January 1, 1970
    A delightful coming of age tale about the son of magic users who's grown up in a world where women do magic and men shape shift. Neither must ever meddle in the other's affairs but of course our hero, Aster knows its his destiny to be a witch like his mother and sister. When the boys in his family begin to disappear its clear that something dark and powerful is preying upon them and Aster, with the help of his new human friend Charlie, is the only one who can save them.This was wonderful. Molly A delightful coming of age tale about the son of magic users who's grown up in a world where women do magic and men shape shift. Neither must ever meddle in the other's affairs but of course our hero, Aster knows its his destiny to be a witch like his mother and sister. When the boys in his family begin to disappear its clear that something dark and powerful is preying upon them and Aster, with the help of his new human friend Charlie, is the only one who can save them.This was wonderful. Molly Knox Ostertag is the genius behind my favorite web comic "Strong Female Protagonist" which if you haven't read...just go read it its wonderful and the illustrator behind Sharon Shinn's first graphic novel Shattered Warrior which I had mixed feelings about story wise but certainly not art wise.Ostertag has written a wise and very sweet allegorical fable about not being afraid to be what and who you truly are even when everyone in your life is saying its impossible. She's also created a really neat mythology for her characters and I finished this story absolutely wanting to learn more about this world. There's something really warm in the way she draws, everything feels very inviting and cozy in the big ramshackle house Aster lives in with his huge extended family and she loves dressing her characters in bright colors with lots of layers and baubles. There's just a tad of dreaminess to things too. Her villains are definitely frightening but they have an old world fairy tale quality to them that made me think of Arthurian legends and stories like St. George and the Dragon. This was a thrilling debut for a truly talented young woman who I very much look forward to following for what I hope will be a long and very successful career!
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  • Katiria
    January 1, 1970
    I absolutely and thoroughly loved and enjoyed The Witch Boy! I don't remember where I came across seeing this graphic novel at. I don't know if I saw it on a book blog or I saw it on a booktube channel all I know when I first lay eyes on it piqued my interest and when I read the synopsis I was sold and very intrigued on checking this book out from the library. And when I finally got my hands on it from the library I was so glad and happy that I check it out because this graphic novel was a lot o I absolutely and thoroughly loved and enjoyed The Witch Boy! I don't remember where I came across seeing this graphic novel at. I don't know if I saw it on a book blog or I saw it on a booktube channel all I know when I first lay eyes on it piqued my interest and when I read the synopsis I was sold and very intrigued on checking this book out from the library. And when I finally got my hands on it from the library I was so glad and happy that I check it out because this graphic novel was a lot of fun reading it. Now I don't want to go into any details about this amazing graphic novel without getting a spoiler but I will tell you what I absolutely loved about The Witch Boy. I absolutely love the new and refreshing plotline and the concept of this book I haven't read a graphic novel quite like it before until now but I do know there are some books and probably some graphic novel with male witches out there. But I haven't read or come across these books or graphic novels yet if you have, can you please recommend me some. Now if you know me by now I absolutely love a very beautiful and pretty artwork in the graphic novel that I can take hours just looking at the artwork alone and the artwork in The Witch Boy was so, so, so pretty. The artwork reminded me so much a new upcoming graphic novel that I finished reading called Sheets by Brenna Thummler and I also loved and enjoyed that graphic novel as well. The writing style flows absolutely well and I understood everything the author wrote and I also thought the writing style was absolutely beautiful as well. I thought all the characters well very well developed and well rounded too I absolutely loved all the characters especially Aster and his new non-magical and non-conforming friend Charlie the both of them always had each other backs. Even though it is forbidden for Aster to talk to a non-magical person and to even befriend one, but Charlie knows how Aster exactly feels like at his home with his family because Charlie feels the same way at her home so the both of them clicked right away. I also really love the family dynamic in the Witch Boy you could tell that each family members loves and cares for one another and they try to understand Aster but they really don't understand his infatuation to becoming a witch when it is forbidden for a male magical person to become a witch in the family. It is a rule that all magical males should only be shapeshifter, not witches and only females can become be witches. Which Aster totally disagrees on he wants to become a witch, not a shapeshifter. But there are big things that happen to Aster and his family and the events that unrolled in this graphic novel will change Aster and his family lives forever. All and all I absolutely loved everything in The Witch Boy that I can't wait to read The Hidden Witch that will come out on Holloween of this year, which I think that it will be a really great time to read The Hidden Witch during the Holloween and fall season!
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  • Davey
    January 1, 1970
    (The bookstore where I work received an ARC of this today from Scholastic and, as it was a particularly slow day, I read it all in one go while standing behind the cash register.)I loved it. I loved the world right away--in fact, I wished it were longer (or perhaps the beginning of a series) just because the magic was so interesting. I really dug the artwork, too, of course. It felt very organic. But also magical. And I liked the character designs. But mostly it was just such a compelling metaph (The bookstore where I work received an ARC of this today from Scholastic and, as it was a particularly slow day, I read it all in one go while standing behind the cash register.)I loved it. I loved the world right away--in fact, I wished it were longer (or perhaps the beginning of a series) just because the magic was so interesting. I really dug the artwork, too, of course. It felt very organic. But also magical. And I liked the character designs. But mostly it was just such a compelling metaphor for being "Other," gender-wise. It really hit me in a soft spot in a way that, to be honest, not a lot of middle-grade books do. It captured so well and in such a short space the yearning for something that society says you aren't supposed to have--it captured equally well the putrescence of the soul that can grow when you're denied your true self.
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  • Misty
    January 1, 1970
    This was sweet and beautifully drawn, and it may hit the sweet spot for a lot of young readers, but it left something to be desired. Everything felt a little shallow and not fully fleshed out, and there's no real "twist" -- even though I think one was slightly intended -- as it couldn't be more obvious what's going on. And it has a nice message, which it presents without the least bit of subtlety. I think its strengths are in the relationships, which I wish had been explored even more. As a long This was sweet and beautifully drawn, and it may hit the sweet spot for a lot of young readers, but it left something to be desired. Everything felt a little shallow and not fully fleshed out, and there's no real "twist" -- even though I think one was slightly intended -- as it couldn't be more obvious what's going on. And it has a nice message, which it presents without the least bit of subtlety. I think its strengths are in the relationships, which I wish had been explored even more. As a longer book or part of an ongoing series, slowed down to really build those relationships and interactions, this could have been really lovely.As it was, it was sweet and quick, and not something I regret giving the time to -- but underwhelming, all the same.
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  • Jackson Bird
    January 1, 1970
    This was everything I’ve ever wanted in a story. Big magical family living in a giant house in the woods. Kids who don’t conform to gender roles. Realistic, loveable characters. Tons of diversity. I’m so happy there’s a second installment coming, but how will I wait until October??
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  • Rachael Hobson
    January 1, 1970
    Actual rating: 3.5 stars This is a really lovely story. It's a morality story with a magical twist. Let people be who they truly are! This is a middle grade novel, which is probably why the story moved as fast as it did. I personally wish there was more detail in regards to both the build up and climax of the story.
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  • Krista Regester
    January 1, 1970
    This was great - I would describe it as a mixture of Lumberjanes and Nimona.
  • Jae
    January 1, 1970
    OH MY LITTLE GENDER NONCONFORMING HEART. audible gasp from me when I realized the truth a few pages ahead of aster. the resolution was a little too snappy for my taste but the denouement was ace. keep an eye out for a cameo by a couple other magical cartoon favorites.
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  • Liza Wiemer
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you, Scholastic, for the review copy of The Witch Boy. A positive message of crossing the lines between girls' roles and boys' roles. Girls are witches and boys are shapeshifters. But not Aster. He wants to be a witch. Beautiful drawings, captivating story that breaks out of family expectations. Facing fears, embracing identity. This is a world of magic middle graders will want to explore. Definitely recommend. Perfect for reluctant readers!
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  • Rachel
    January 1, 1970
    In Aster’s family, boys are to learn the power of shapeshifting, while girls are to develop their skills in witchcraft. This is how it has always been, and it is how they think it is meant to be. The young Aster though, feels in his heart that shapeshifting isn’t meant for him, and he already knows that he is fairly adept at the teachings of the witches. From the bits and pieces of secret knowledge he gleans, he is able to do very helpful things. Aster lacks the confidence to defy his family out In Aster’s family, boys are to learn the power of shapeshifting, while girls are to develop their skills in witchcraft. This is how it has always been, and it is how they think it is meant to be. The young Aster though, feels in his heart that shapeshifting isn’t meant for him, and he already knows that he is fairly adept at the teachings of the witches. From the bits and pieces of secret knowledge he gleans, he is able to do very helpful things. Aster lacks the confidence to defy his family outright though, and he is aware that there are consequences to dabbling in such things. It is only when the other boys in his family start to go missing, along with the encouragement of a sports loving girl, that he finds the courage to answer the call. Ostertag has created a genuinely thoughtful and accessible graphic novel for the middle grade reader with characters that break gender norms. Their story should prove encouraging to children questioning their own identities; that the things they are “allowed” to love isn’t defined by their gender, and that as long as they are true to themselves, others will also accept them for who they are. Ostertag’s artwork will equally appeal to this age group. Those looking for an art style similar to Faith Erin Hicks or Raina Telgemeier, should be directed to this creator. Ostertag’s pacing and use of colour are especially good. The Witch Boy is an outstanding graphic novel with broad appeal, it has enough threads left open at the end to hint at a possible sequel, and it is sure to help a child or two feel good about their identity.
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  • Madison
    January 1, 1970
    This one is a miss for me. I love Molly Ostertag's work generally and I very much want to see her succeed in everything she does, but I found this book seriously lacking. The worldbuilding is thin at best, and the whole "boys like fighing and girls like gardening" schtick is ridiculously heavy-handed. I know she set up that dynamic in order to dismantle it, but the needlessly and tiresomely over-gendered characters don't make her point so much as clumsily march through a forest of predictable cl This one is a miss for me. I love Molly Ostertag's work generally and I very much want to see her succeed in everything she does, but I found this book seriously lacking. The worldbuilding is thin at best, and the whole "boys like fighing and girls like gardening" schtick is ridiculously heavy-handed. I know she set up that dynamic in order to dismantle it, but the needlessly and tiresomely over-gendered characters don't make her point so much as clumsily march through a forest of predictable cliches. It reads a little bit like something a well-meaning person would have written in 1995 as an allegory to coming out to one's parents as gay. I'm all for stories where boys like traditionally "girly" stuff, and I think we need more of them! I applaud the effort here. However, it just doesn't work.
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  • Jasmine Skye
    January 1, 1970
    Recommended for readers who love well-done magic systems, complicated family dynamics, and discussions of gender politics.I would recommend this to any pre-teen who's questioning their gender, or who has a friend who is, or anyone interested in a different perspective of what it means to enforce gender roles. This is fantasy and it's a fun adventure, but at the core its message is about learning to love yourself regardless of what everyone might try to prescribe onto you.
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  • Sinead
    January 1, 1970
    This was simply fabulous. Magic, shapeshifting? Inter racial relationships? Diverse characters? Same sex parents? Yes please.My 10 year old sister says this is her favorite book and I had to read it and I did and how glad am I that this is the type of book that she loves? She is experiencing so much variety between people and relationships and understanding the importance of being yourself - even if being yourself means standing out and learning witchcraft instead of shapeshifting. All around, a This was simply fabulous. Magic, shapeshifting? Inter racial relationships? Diverse characters? Same sex parents? Yes please.My 10 year old sister says this is her favorite book and I had to read it and I did and how glad am I that this is the type of book that she loves? She is experiencing so much variety between people and relationships and understanding the importance of being yourself - even if being yourself means standing out and learning witchcraft instead of shapeshifting. All around, amazing.
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  • Summer
    January 1, 1970
    It sort of hits you over the head with it's message but overall its a very beautiful and sweet tale about a boy that just wants to do magic.
  • Jane
    January 1, 1970
    Okay, this was fricken amazing in so many ways. To start with, the art is so gorgeous. I wish this was the chosen style for the illustrated editions of Harry Potter or that if they make an animated film or show, they contact Molly Ostertag. Like, 150% I need this.The world-building is richly depicted, while still nailing a cozy and small-town vibe. Each character (and there are a lot) is original and multi-dimensional. Especially with current events nowadays, the story and plot were particularly Okay, this was fricken amazing in so many ways. To start with, the art is so gorgeous. I wish this was the chosen style for the illustrated editions of Harry Potter or that if they make an animated film or show, they contact Molly Ostertag. Like, 150% I need this.The world-building is richly depicted, while still nailing a cozy and small-town vibe. Each character (and there are a lot) is original and multi-dimensional. Especially with current events nowadays, the story and plot were particularly lovely. While the plot is focused on witches and shapeshifters, there are clear parallels between this and the struggle of the LGBT+ community today. What really impressed me was how smart Ostertag wove this theme throughout so that it was obvious but also not too obvious, if that makes sense. Like, any social justice activist and feminist is going to pick up on it right away for sure. But, there is a really wonderful balance between the fantasy and how it relates to our own world that never becomes that obnoxious Glee-level of addressing social issues. Anyway, this book is fucking amazing and everyone should read it.
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  • Mehsi
    January 1, 1970
    Witches, shapeshifters, friendship, and a need for a chance (and change).I have been looking forward to this book for some time, I love Molly Ostertag's work, so I was very delighted to see a new book by her. And about witches/magic! About friendship! About finding who you are and where you belongI liked Aster from the start. He was an interesting character, and I loved that he didn't let anyone deter him from learning magic. He just kept on trying, either by hiding in trees, or by climbing high Witches, shapeshifters, friendship, and a need for a chance (and change).I have been looking forward to this book for some time, I love Molly Ostertag's work, so I was very delighted to see a new book by her. And about witches/magic! About friendship! About finding who you are and where you belongI liked Aster from the start. He was an interesting character, and I loved that he didn't let anyone deter him from learning magic. He just kept on trying, either by hiding in trees, or by climbing high up so he could peek into a classroom. But you could see that this sneaky behaviour wasn’t making him happy. All he wanted was to sit with those girls and also learn this magic.Yes, throughout the story you can see him grow increasingly sadder as he knows that he will probably just have to find a way to shapeshift, even though he doesn’t want to. I just wanted to hug him.Thankfully, Aster makes a friend. A human girl named Charlie. Even with her broken leg she keeps doing things (and I was shaking my head when we learned how she broke that leg of hers…. Girl, please). I didn’t always like Charlie. When she was practically demanding that Aster fixes her leg with his magic, and then didn’t want to understand that this isn’t just done with a bit of hocus pocus... But she was also a sweet girl and I loved how supportive she was to Aster, but also how Aster was supportive of her. Because just like Aster, Charlie isn’t happy with how roles are set in society. She wants to do sports but her school but the school is stopping with the co-ed stuff, boys get more. Throughout the book we see Charlie and Aster grow closer. Their friendship was just wonderful, and I loved what Charlie did for Aster in the latter parts of the book (with the whole end battle).The story in the book was wonderful. At first we mostly have Aster and his wish to learn magic, but then the story takes for a turn when boys disappear. When a “demon” appears before Aster the story becomes more exciting. Will Aster accept the offer? Or will he save his nephews/family from that demon with the magic he learned? And no, I won’t spoil what happens. Just read the book.The end was brilliant (and really exciting, I already couldn't stop reading, well I was stuck like glue now), I also like the confirmation we got from the demon about Aster. I was pissed at the parents/clan. I can imagine that they have set roles for females and males, but I think they should also make exceptions if a kid turns out to have a different talent. Not every boy or girl will fit the role set for them. Really, eventually they had living proof of these roles bringing harm, and even then it was hard to get it through their heads that it was a bad idea to force roles on people. I just wanted to shake them a bit, point at the proof, ask them if they want this for Aster. Plus given what happened to those boys, I think that it may be wise for fathers to help out the boys a bit more instead of just telling them it will happen.Plus I found it urgh that the kids were bullying him because he was different and that none of the adults apparently cared about.The art was just fabulous. Then again, that isn't too surprising, I have loved her art for some time now. The art also tells the story, I think that even if one would leave out the text, that they can still get the story. I loved the design of the evil creature (or demon as I would call it). Especially after you find out more about it, it just fits better and better with it.All in all, I do hope we will be getting more Aster and his family, more Charlie, more adventures, and I do hope that if we do get more Aster that we will also see him finally learn magic the legal/right way. :P He deserves that!And of course I would highly recommend this book to everyone. It is gorgeous, atmospheric, fun, beautifully drawn, has great characters.Review first posted at https://twirlingbookprincess.com/
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  • Mangrii
    January 1, 1970
    La historia nos presenta a la familia de Aster, donde todas las chicas son educadas para ser brujas mientras que los chicos para convertirse en cambiaformas. Los roles no pueden intercambiarse, y quién se atreve a desafiar los límites, será exiliado. Aster es un chico, y esta fascinado por la magia. En su interior sabe que tiene talento para ello, y se dedica a espiar a las brujas. Aprender a escondidas. Además, aun no ha conseguido la anhelada transformación. Cuando un misterioso peligro hace q La historia nos presenta a la familia de Aster, donde todas las chicas son educadas para ser brujas mientras que los chicos para convertirse en cambiaformas. Los roles no pueden intercambiarse, y quién se atreve a desafiar los límites, será exiliado. Aster es un chico, y esta fascinado por la magia. En su interior sabe que tiene talento para ello, y se dedica a espiar a las brujas. Aprender a escondidas. Además, aun no ha conseguido la anhelada transformación. Cuando un misterioso peligro hace que algunos de los chicos de la familia desaparezcan, Aster sabe que puede ayudarlos gracias a sus poderes mágicos. Una historia autoconclusiva sobre la familia, la valentía, la amistad y la identidad, aderezada por un tono de cuento de hadas que nos pone en perspectiva de un problema real y a la orden del día: el ostracismo universal ante lo que queremos ser. Las barreras que nos impiden llegar a aquello que anhelamos por nuestro simple género. Todo un alegato, sin resultar moralina barata, sobre la imposición de roles de género de nuestra sociedad.La lectura de 'El niño brujo' es rápida, encantadora y emocionante. Pero tiene algo más. Es una lección disfrazada de cuento que todo joven y adulto debería leer. Una historia con un mensaje de diversidad social y amistad impregnado por un aura fabulesca y mágica. Ayuda el arte de Molly, con un estilo cartoon y bonito que transmite ese aire inocente. Pero ojo, que sus momentos tenebrosos asolan.Espero que Harper Kids se anime a publicar The Hidden Witch cuando se publique en inglés.Reseña en el blog: https://boywithletters.blogspot.com/2...
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  • Nay Keppler
    January 1, 1970
    So original, and so stinkin' cute! Perfect for fans of Nimona.
  • Taylor Kundel-Gower
    January 1, 1970
    Uhm...okay...I’m sorry...am I dreaming?! 1. This graphic novel is GORGEOUS. Just...very aesthetically beautiful. Oh my gosh, the detail. 2. It’s like Ostertag is a mind reader with a time machine who knows all of my fondest childhood memories of playing pretend witchy games in which I would live in the remote forest with my large witch clan, only she does it so much better. This story exists in the universe of my dreams! So so so good.3. The book also brings up a really excellent points about ge Uhm...okay...I’m sorry...am I dreaming?! 1. This graphic novel is GORGEOUS. Just...very aesthetically beautiful. Oh my gosh, the detail. 2. It’s like Ostertag is a mind reader with a time machine who knows all of my fondest childhood memories of playing pretend witchy games in which I would live in the remote forest with my large witch clan, only she does it so much better. This story exists in the universe of my dreams! So so so good.3. The book also brings up a really excellent points about gender roles in a way that is totally not didactic. 4. So I finish this graphic novel, which is already perfect, in my opinion, and then discover that the author is a lesbian. What could be better?! Oh, I’m so glad you asked!!! Her girlfriend is Lumberjanes creator Noelle Stevenson. If that’s not a match made in gay heaven, I don’t know what is. I’m so excited to put quality LGBTQ content for kids in the library.So yeah, I’m still pretty much trying to wrap my head around all of this perfection and I’m SO STOKED that there’s going to be a sequel.
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  • orangerful
    January 1, 1970
    Really quick read but a great way to get kids thinking about gender roles without beating them over the head with it. Aster is a boy and boys cannot be witches, at least according to his communities rules. Boys are shapeshifters, they turn into different animals and fight to protect the village. Girls are witches that use magic to help things grow and for protection spells. But Aster has not shapeshifted yet and finds magic to be far more interesting. He begins to listen in on the girl's classes Really quick read but a great way to get kids thinking about gender roles without beating them over the head with it. Aster is a boy and boys cannot be witches, at least according to his communities rules. Boys are shapeshifters, they turn into different animals and fight to protect the village. Girls are witches that use magic to help things grow and for protection spells. But Aster has not shapeshifted yet and finds magic to be far more interesting. He begins to listen in on the girl's classes, taking notes and practicing when no one is watching. But then he learns from his grandmother about another boy who wanted to be a witch and how things went badly for him. When boys around the village start to disappear, Aster wonders if it is his fault for dabbling in magic instead of following the rules.
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  • Stacy Fetters
    January 1, 1970
    "Oh! I wanted to ask: Do you get a flying broom? A what? Nevermind. Pass the cookies?" From page one, I was trapped in a magical world that I didn't want to escape from. The story was very different from what is being released that I didn't want it to end. The art was exceptional. Can't wait for the actual release to see all the artwork in full color. The first few pages were in color and it made the story pop in a different light. All magic has rules and if we disobey them, something horrible "Oh! I wanted to ask: Do you get a flying broom? A what? Nevermind. Pass the cookies?" From page one, I was trapped in a magical world that I didn't want to escape from. The story was very different from what is being released that I didn't want it to end. The art was exceptional. Can't wait for the actual release to see all the artwork in full color. The first few pages were in color and it made the story pop in a different light. All magic has rules and if we disobey them, something horrible may fall. What happens if the only way to save people is to break the rules and use magic? Would you do it? Even if it meant life or death?
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