The Misadventures of Salem Hyde: Book One: Spelling Trouble

( 2 )

Overview


Salem Hyde just isn’t like other kids. For one thing, she’s stubborn, independent, and impulsive. For another, she’s a witch. Salem acts first and thinks later—which means most of her thinking involves coming up with excuses!
Good thing she’s been assigned an animal companion, Lord Percival J. Whamsford III. This over-anxious cat doesn’t like Salem calling him “Whammy,” and Salem doesn’t like listening to his long-winded explanations as to why...
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Overview


Salem Hyde just isn’t like other kids. For one thing, she’s stubborn, independent, and impulsive. For another, she’s a witch. Salem acts first and thinks later—which means most of her thinking involves coming up with excuses!
Good thing she’s been assigned an animal companion, Lord Percival J. Whamsford III. This over-anxious cat doesn’t like Salem calling him “Whammy,” and Salem doesn’t like listening to his long-winded explanations as to why she shouldn’t do something . . . like enter the class spelling bee.
Salem knows she can beat all her classmates at spells, no problem. Too late, she realizes the competition is about spelling words, not magic. And there’s nothing like a misspelled spell to cause all kinds of havoc!  

Praise for The Misadventures of Salem Hyde: Book One
STARRED REVIEWS
"A fledgling witch receives necessary guidance from a talking cat in this utterly adorable page-turner… A delightful buddy story and an auspicious series opener; be sure to make room on shelves for Salem and Whammy."
Kirkus Reviews, starred review

"It’s just about the perfect story for comics-loving fathers to read with their comics-loving daughters."
Publishers Weekly, starred review

"Cammuso evokes both the sarcastic spunk and gentle warmth of Calvin and Hobbes in this humorous tale of unlikely pals."
The Bulletin of The Center for Children's Books

"Young readers will eat up Cammuso’s (Otto’s Orange Day, 2008) action-packed panels, full of cartoonish antics, silly puns, and playful slapstick humor."
Booklist

"The humor, appealing artwork, and underlying message of friendship will attract readers."
Library Media Connection

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
★ 09/23/2013
Salem Hyde is brash, outspoken, and has a pair of pigtails that resemble bat wings. She’s also a witch, and she needs help keeping her powers under control. Enter Percival J. Whamsford III (aka Whammy), a magical cat Salem’s family hires for that very purpose. Never mind that she would’ve preferred a unicorn: “A witch and a cat?” she grouses. “That’s so unoriginal!” Illustrated in energetic green-and-black cartoons packed with physical comedy, Cammuso’s (Otto’s Backwards Day) odd-couple story reads like a salute to the comic strips of yesteryear, with plenty of punning and deadpan deliveries; he even sneaks in a few references to Star Trek and The Simpsons. Along with the ongoing clashes between headstrong Salem and persnickety Whammy, the plot concerns Salem’s quest for success in an upcoming spelling bee, while outsmarting a teacher who has it out for her. In one of many funny moments, Whammy tries to sanitize the story of Moby-Dick for an impressionable Salem (“Did I say harpoons? I meant... balloons”). It’s just about the perfect story for comics-loving fathers to read with their comics-loving daughters. Ages 7–9. (Oct.)¦
Children's Literature - Leona Illig
Salem Hyde does not spell very well, which can be a big problem for a witch. Her witch's spells often go awry, and as for her ability to perform in a real spelling bee in school—well, the less said the better. Add to that the fact that she is stubborn and impulsive, and you have a little girl with some big problems. Enter Percival J. Whamsford III, also known as "Whammy," a cat brought in to be a companion for Salem and help her navigate the pitfalls of life. Whammy, however, comes with his own set of problems (including being fired from a job in a restaurant). He also has a large dose of "cattitude" which definitely clashes with Salem's fierce independence. How they manage to work together and help one another is the focus of this funny, short graphic novel. The illustrations are inventive, imaginative, and amusing (and may make older readers recall the genius of the "Looney Toon" animated films). The plot is clever and the characters are loveable. It is the humor, however, which is the star of this book. The wacky comedy works on many levels, and includes multiple double meanings and even a riff on "Moby Dick"—not something you often see in the children's humor section. At the back of the book is a page about the author and illustrator. This book appears to be the first installment in a series entitled, "The Misadventures of Salem Hyde." If all of the books are as funny as this one, they will be worth waiting for. Reviewer: Leona Illig
School Library Journal
01/01/2014
Gr 2–5—It's hard enough navigating elementary school, but for Salem Hyde she has to do so while keeping her magical skills in check in Cammuso's (Knights of the Lunch Table, 2008) charming new graphic novel series. After Salem confuses the upcoming spelling contest with spell casting and accidentally turns the crossing guard, Mrs. Fossil, into a dinosaur, her non-magical parents enlist the help of a magical companion to assist Salem. Percival J. Whamsford III, or "Whammy" as Salem likes to call him, is a cat who has 800 years' experience teaching young witches to use their powers. Salem's impulsive antics (flying a vacuum cleaner instead of a broom and having a whale materialize in the gymnasium when "wail" is misspelled during the contest) frustrate Whammy, but ultimately the two come together to make things right and form a strong friendship. Cammuso's play on words are simple enough for new readers to understand and sophisticated enough to entertain those with more advanced skills. A memorable scene about a "WHAT Witch" test that is reminiscent of Abbot and Costello's "Who's on First" routine. The characters are drawn with big smiles and wide eyes, invoking classic comic imagery, while the mostly black-and-white illustrations are infused with shades of pale green. Fans who like their Sunday cartoons with longer plots and hysterical antics will clamor for the next adventure in this creative series. Move over Babymouse-there's a clever new character in the graphic novel section.—Kristine M. Casper, Huntington Public Library, NY
Kirkus Reviews
★ 2013-09-01
A fledgling witch receives necessary guidance from a talking cat in this utterly adorable page-turner. Plucky, pigtailed and bespectacled Salem Hyde just wants a friend. After a misguided attempt to use her magic lands her in the principal's office, Salem's family decides she needs an animal companion. One well-placed call later, she meets knowledgeable and talkative feline Percival J. Whamsford III, otherwise known as Whammy. Whammy isn't just a chatty kitty; he is a Magical Animal Companion and will help Salem learn how to use her magic properly. However, the two get off to a rocky start (Salem had wanted a unicorn, not a cat), despite Whammy's best efforts. When Salem casts a big blunder of a spell at her school's spelling bee, Whammy arrives in the nick of time to help her and prove his friendship. Cammuso's jokes are laugh-out-loud funny, with one of the most memorable bits borrowed from Abbott and Costello's iconic "Who's on First" routine. Simply drawn, wide-eyed characters populate Cammuso's genial tale, lending it a Sunday-morning-comics feel and a gentle nostalgia that conjures visions of Calvin and Hobbes meeting a young Samantha Stephens. A delightful buddy story and an auspicious series opener; be sure to make room on shelves for Salem and Whammy. (Graphic fantasy. 7-10)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781419708046
  • Publisher: Amulet Books
  • Publication date: 10/1/2013
  • Series: Misadventures of Salem Hyde Series
  • Pages: 96
  • Sales rank: 298,148
  • Product dimensions: 5.74 (w) x 7.54 (h) x 0.32 (d)

Meet the Author


Frank Cammuso is an Eisner-nominated cartoonist, the creator of the popular middle school graphic novel series Knights of the Lunch Table, and the illustrator of several beginning reader graphic books, including Otto’s Orange Day. He lives in Syracuse, New York.
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 18, 2014

    We laughed hard!!  I loved the book and so did my 8 year old. Sh

    We laughed hard!!  I loved the book and so did my 8 year old. She read it twice.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 3, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Very "Spellbinding" for children!

    We raise our children to be confident, independent and strong, right? What if your child is a witch and just a little too independent, a little wild, and hasn’t quite got her “spelling” down pat? You would do like any other good parent, you would employ a familiar to help teach your child the ropes of being a witch. What happens when our young witch refuses to listen to her familiar? Well, there is “spelling” and there is “spelling,” and there is Salem and Lord Percival J. Whamsford III as they enter into a battle of wills! Who will win? What fiascoes will arise?

    The Misadventures of Salem Hyde: Book One: Spelling Trouble by Frank Cammuso is a cute, clever and fast-paced tale that will engage children with Salem’s antics and Whammy’s perseverance. I was definitely charmed by this quick read, so I gave it to my 8 year old granddaughter and she told me she liked it, it was funny and Mya thought Salem needed to learn to listen better! (From out of the mouths of babes…) I think this is a real attention-getter for younger kids and a great way to interest them in the power of reading.

    This ARC edition was provided by NetGalley and Abrams in exchange for my honest review.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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