Bella Broomstick is a terrible witch. She doesn't have nose hair or warts. Her magic wand never does what she wants it to do. And she's obsessed with things no good witch would ever need...like toothbrushes, fluffy slippers, and a pink flamingo pen. So it's really not a surprise when Bella fails the Creepy Castle School entrance exam.
Aunt Hemlock sends her to live with a nice family and warns her that magic is forbidden! It turns out that living with non-magical parents means all kinds of fun new thingslike eating ice cream instead of frog spawn porridge and taking hot bubble baths instead of washing in a swamp. Bella can totally give up magic to live here . . . unless there's a really good reason to try a spell.
This hilarious series starter features a reluctant witch, a lost kitten, and a fun look at our world through the eyes of an outsider. When Bella follows her heart, making magic is easy!
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I am a hopeless witch.
Everybody says so.
Especially Aunt Hemlock. She woke me up at dawn this morning just to tell me how hopeless I am.
“Belladonna Broomstick, you are the most hopeless young witch in the whole of the Magic Realm!” she said, poking me with her long fingernails as the seven warts on the end of her nose wobbled like fat green frogs.
I don’t have any warts on my nose. Perhaps that’s why I’m such a hopeless witch. If I could grow just one teeny-tiny wart, I might learn to be good at magic.
I yawned and peeked at my reflection in Aunt Hemlock’s magic mirror.
“Aha!” cackled the mirror. “If it’s not Belladonna Broomstick. Just look at your big brown eyes and curls. Not a wart in sight. Pathetic. What a hopeless young witch!”
“Actually, Bella, I think you’re very pretty,” whispered a spider that swung down from the roof of the cave.
I blushed. “Thank you.” I understood every word he’d said. Speaking animal languages is the only thing I am good at.
Belladonna Broomstick’s Magic Skills
- Wand Work: HOPELESS
- Spells: HOPELESS
- Potions: HOPELESS
- Talking to Animals: EXCELLENT!!
“Quiet!” Aunt Hemlock grabbed the poor little spider by seven of his eight long legs and dunked him in her lumpy porridge.
“Let him go!” I cried.
As if by magic (which it probably was), Aunt Hemlock’s creepy chameleon, Wane, appeared on the kitchen shelf. Wane gives me the shivers. I never know what color he is going to be or where he will appear next. He’s always spying on me and tattling to Aunt Hemlock. Right now he was disguising himself behind a jar of frog spawn.
“Yum! Is that spider for me, mistress?” he slurped, sticking out his long purple tongue.
“Certainly not!” Aunt Hemlock dangled the spider above her open mouth. “This one is mine.”
“Stop!” I begged, but Aunt Hemlock swallowed the poor thing whole. “How horrible!” I shuddered.
“And very unfair not to share,” said Wane, turning piglet-pink in a huff.
Aunt Hemlock ignored us both and picked her teeth with a chicken bone.
“You’re looking marvelously magical today, if I may say so, mistress,” said the mirror, sucking up to her as usual.
“At least one of us is looking magical,” sighed Aunt Hemlock. “Belladonna has her entrance exam for Creepy Castle School for Witches and Wizards today . . . but I don’t suppose she’ll pass. She is a hopeless witch, you know.”
“Belladonna Broomstick is about as magical as mud,” agreed the mirror.
I know what I’d do if I were good at magic. . . . I’d turn that vain, goody-goody mirror into a toilet seat.
I have never actually seen a toilet seat in real life.
But I know what they look like, because I’ve seen a picture in the Sellwell Department Store catalog—a wonderful, shiny book I found blowing around in a field one day. I have no idea where it came from . . . perhaps the Person World? Most witches and wizards my age say there is no such place. But I keep the catalog hidden under my bed and peek at the washing machines and fridges every night. Even if it is only a fairy tale, it can’t hurt to dream. . . .
“Hold on!” said Wane. “Hasn’t Belladonna already taken the exam for Creepy Castle?” He gave me a nasty little smile. I began to imagine all the things I’d like to turn him into.
“Belladonna has taken the examination twice,” sighed Aunt Hemlock.
I knew what was coming next. . . . “And she has failed it twice too!”
“Third time’s a charm?” I said, crossing my fingers behind my back.
“How hilarious!” The mirror laughed so hard it nearly fell off the wall.
“Not a hope, Belladonna!” wheezed Wane. His dry lizardy voice sounded as if he’d swallowed a bucket of sand. “You are your parents’ daughter, after all.”
“Don’t you dare say anything bad about my parents,” I said loudly in my best lizard language so that even stupid Wane could understand me.
Everyone says my mom and dad were no good at magic. When I was a baby, they turned themselves into white mice to make me laugh. It wasn’t a very good idea—not in the Magic Realm, with so many witches’ cats around (not to mention big, greedy lizards!). All that was ever found were two pink tails. . . .
That’s why I live with Aunt Hemlock.
“Mom and Dad might not have been very good at magic, but at least they were kind,” I said.
“Kind?” Wane’s big, round eyes nearly popped right out of his head. “Fat lot of good that did them!”
“You horrible, leather-headed bully!” I picked up a wooden spoon and waved it like an ogre’s cudgel. Wane shot behind a cactus and turned prickly and green.
“Goody,” cackled the mirror. “A fight!”
Aunt Hemlock stepped between us. “This exam had better be third time’s a charm, Belladonna Broomstick, or I’ll dip you in porridge and gobble you up like that spider.” She snatched another one off the wall and swallowed it whole, just to make her point. “If you fail this time, you won’t get another chance.”