By Henry Holt & Co.

Reviewed for Fourth Grade, 2010

Fiery Prunella is not your average bog-witch: she doesn't have a single wart, and most of her spells go awry. But what really sets her apart is that deep down, Prunella has a heart of gold. When a dapper young Uplander strays into her aunt's deadly zucchini patch, Prunella can't resist helping him escape, and gets thrown out of the family bog as a result. Together with her new companion, wily thief Barnaby Bagby, Prunella sets off on a quest to restore the Uplands to its former glory.

What follows is a tale full of heart-racing adventure, daring feats of courage, and plenty of magical and menacing creatures. More than your average fantasy, this book stands above others of its kind with witty dialogue, interesting characters, and rich themes of acceptance and self-discovery. A swift, engaging read for boys and girls alike. (Henry Holt & Co, $14.03)