Academic journal article Language Arts

The Misadventures of Salem Hyde: Spelling Trouble

Academic journal article Language Arts

The Misadventures of Salem Hyde: Spelling Trouble

Article excerpt

The Misadventures of Salem Hyde: Spelling Trouble Written and illustrated by Frank Cammuso Amulet Books, 2013, 95 pp., ISBN 978-1-4197- 0803-9

Readers meet the irrepressible and delightful young witch Salem Hyde just as she mistakes a spelling bee for a contest of incantations-and her attempt to spell "dinosaur" goes terribly wrong. Ironic, dead-pan, and slapstick humor balance the warm sincerity and vulnerability of the characters in this brilliant debut volume of this easy-reader series in comic book format. Readers quickly learn that Salem likes flying, dislikes being told what to do, and has magical powers, such as casting spells, flying a broom, and being "super annoying (not really a magic power, more like a kid power)" (p. 12).

Given the trouble that results from Salem's untrained use of her powers, Aunt Martha (also a witch) convinces Salem's parents (non-magical people) to hire an M.A.C.-magical animal companion-for Salem. Cut to a scene with a cat scrubbing dishes in a diner. He gets a call with a job offer. Readers soon learn that the over-eight- hundred-year-old Percival J. Whamsford, III (Whammy) adamantly dislikes flying and has no magical powers, except being "easily offended" (p. 18). Whammy offers Salem's parents a trial contract period and gets to work. The new companions' relationship is not off to a smooth start. …

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