The cursed first term of Zelda Stitch by Nicki Greenberg

cover image

Allen and Unwin, 2017. ISBN 9781760294908
(Age: Year 3 - Year 6) Recommended. Zelda Stitch is about to start her career as a primary school teacher. She is nervous because she is facing a new class and hopes to keep the fact that she is a witch a secret from the school, especially the principal. All the students in the class have their own personalities and ways but Zelda is particularly aware of Phoebe who happens to be the vice principal's niece. The vice principal seems wary of Zelda and this only adds to her anxieties.
Zelda feels she has been unsuccessful as a witch and doesn't match up to the skills of her witchy friends. Even her own mother would like Zelda to excel more at witchcraft. To add to Zelda's worries is her very grumpy cat, Barnaby who pays her little interest and is a destructive force at home. There are mysterious magical odd goings on happening in the class and the principal seems always to be missing. Can Zelda balance her two worlds successfully or will the subtitle 'Bad teacher. Worst witch' sum up her life?
This is a fun story told in the first person, so we closely follow Zelda's ups and downs, most of them comical. As we see the world through Zelda's eyes we make the same assumptions as she does about what is happening magically in the school but all is not as it seems.
The pages are peppered with Nicki's energetic black and white illustrations. The bright cover is appealing with the stunned looking Zelda and grumpy Barnaby staring out at the reader, suggesting things are not going very well at all!
I recommend this book to primary school students, years 3 to 6.
Jane Moore