“'There's cold chicken inside it,' replied the Rat briefly; 'coldtonguecoldhamcoldbeefpickledgherkinssaladfrench

'O stop, stop,' cried the Mole in ecstacies: 'This is too much!'”
-- from
The Wind in the Willows

Monday, June 14, 2010

The Witchy Worries of Abbie Adams • Middle-grade fiction

Just out! Dial Books for Young Readers Ages 8 - 12
“Don’t think that it didn’t cross my mind to cast a little spell or two to get me out of trouble, because it did.”
Story:  Abbie Adams and her family come from a long line of witches, and she’s having a tough time keeping it a secret from her best friend and the rest of her school.  Especially the day her little brother morphs into a wolf and tries to eat his teacher. 
That’s also the day her father brings home a kitten.  Abbie’s been begging for a cat for months, and she falls in love with that fluffy fuzzball right away.  But there’s something peculiar about this kitten, and it just might take a witch like Abbie to figure out what it is.
Story behind the story:  "When I was a kid," says author Rhonda Hayter, "I hated when somebody tried to teach me something in a book. I wanted to read for fun, I didn’t want education.  I got enough of that in school! When I wrote The Witchy Worries of Abbie Adams, I made it a funny, breezy read. So nobody minds when they learn about a great American, pick up interesting vocabulary and get introduced to other books.  That’s because I snuck it all into a fast-paced romp about a normal fifth grader who happens to be a witch, with problems like a little brother who melts down, turns into a werewolf and tries to eat his teacher."

Praise: Kirkus calls it “light as cotton candy and just as tasty.”  Library Media Connection says, “a humorous book with lots of excitement”.
Rhonda Hayter was an actress and now works as a story analyst for a famous movie producer.  When she and her husband found themselves with two little boys, one of whom morphed into a werewolf one day, The Witchy Worries of Abbie Adams was born.

FYI: all the review copies for this title have been sent; please check back on the "comments" link to read what your colleagues have to say.


Deborah Sloan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
dmuldawer said...

What a wonderful book! When it arrived in the mail, I read one line, put down the book I was reading, and devoured it instead.

The Witchy Worries of Abbie Adams would be best suited for grades 3-6, though younger readers would enjoy having it read to them.

The characters are realistic, drawn by temptations, but filled with a basic sense of righteousness and courage that enable them to overcome obstacles.

I love the message that comes across about hard work and enthusiasm for learning and the value of education.

Highly imaginative with great dialogue and intriguing characters, if a somewhat predictable plot, The Witchy Worries of Abbie Adams is a joy to read and should appeal greatly to fans of the Harry Potter and Fablehaven series.

Picnic Basket Rating: 5

Anonymous said...

I really enjoyed "The Witchy Worries of Abbie Adams". The author, Rhonda Hayter, gave the character of Abbie Adams a beautiful voice. As I was reading I felt everything Abbie was feeling. This takes great skill and makes this book such a great teaching tool when teaching writers voice.

The 6th grade students will love all of the characters in the story. From the frustrations Abbie has when she is unable to tell her best friend Callie her deep secrets, to her relationship with her cat friend Tom. They will be able to identify with the difficult situations that Abbie finds herself in. I will not have any difficulty getting the students interest. Once I started the story I could not put it down.

I look forward to sharing future books written by Rhonda Hayter.

This book is a 5+ in my picnic basket.

Linda said...

I was "bewitched" by the book. I could not put the book down. The characters are believable, "down to earth" (if you can call a magical character that), and full of twists and turns. I enjoyed it from the beginning to the end.
At first, I thought...okay, another Freaky Friday type of book! But, once I started reading it, I was mesmerized (not too good for a 60 year old teacher to love children's lit so much! Keeps me young-ish). The characters were very believable and the plot moved quickly and each chapter definitely built on the next. I giggled and chuckled, and as a parent/adult identified with the parents in the story and I am sure the children are nodding their heads when they hear the parents speaking in the story, sounding just like them

A definite winner.

wondam said...

The Witchy Worries of Abby Hayes is a sweet enchanting story which perfectly illustrated the social angst which accompanies big secrets. Abby is a genuine likable character who is constantly getting into trouble at school when she tries to cover up her brothers magical antics and keep the family secret of witchcraft from being revealed. The action is kicked up a bit when she receives a long desired kitten who isn't what he seems. This is a cute story with plenty of twists and turns to keep it interesting. Great for 3rd - 6th graders.

Pamela Kramer said...

A 5 out of 5 rating!

I really enjoyed The Witchy Worries of Abbie Adams. From the start, I thought the narrator's voice was "right on" in terms of being true to the mannerisms of a 5th grader. I teach 5th grade, so I feel entitled to judge that. I also loved the interactions between Abbie, her brother, her parents and her best friend.

My very minor complaint is the slightly heavy-handed manner in which the strangeness of the kitten was handled. I would have preferred for my students to find out who the kitten really was during an "aha" moment, instead of having it made fairly obvious from the start. I like it when students get to realize that they were given clues all along about what will happen.

The author was also careful to include just the right amount of magic.

A true 5/5--perfect for any picnic.

Peaceful Reader said...

This looks so great. I'm sorry I missed it!!

Mrs. Vincent said...

I'm a little later reviewing this book because I just had a baby on the 2nd. I just finished the book and had to come review right away because I love Abbie Adams. I agree that it is perfect for grades 3-6. I am a hearing itinerant teacher and I work with some students who are behind their grade level in reading. I think this would even be appropriate for a 7th grader reading at a lower reading level.

This book reminded me of Sabrina the Teenage Witch because the author does such a good job of capturing Abbie's voice as a 5th grader. She gets into trouble, too which kids can relate to. I love the mystery part of the book when she figures out who her cat is and her family tries to figure out who turned him into a cat in the first place. I think it's great that the author incorporated Thomas Edison and a little bit of history into the book without being a book all about Thomas Edison. If I were to read or recommend this to one of my students I would definitely bring in some non-fiction text about Thomas Edison and also bring in my pictures from when I got to go into his lab that is now housed at the Ford Museum in Detroit, Michigan. I love connecting fiction with non-fiction/history.

I give this book a 4/5 rating. I would never hesitate to recommend it to a student. As an adult I can't say it was a 5 for me like some middle grade books are, but I can definitely see how a student would give it a 5.

Jen Vincent, District U-46, Illinois
You can also read my review on my blog: www.teachmentortexts.com.

Anonymous said...

Rating: 3

Abbie Adams is a young witch who's parents have decided to raise her in the mortal world. Abbie has many of the problems that any typical elementary student has, (family, friends, siblings etc.) and the problems are often exacerbated by magic.

To me Abbie's parents came across as too understanding and supportive (and I know that this sounds strange), but I found myself wishing for a family that was a little less than perfect than the family presented here.

Some of the dialog was jumpy. And the details were not always consistent. For example, halfway through the book Abbie's brother develops a bit of a lisp?

This book also brought in historical facts and characters-that I guess were fun.

Altogether this book was not overwhelmingly good or bad, just somewhere in between.

Heather Hart
Children's Librarian

PLLoggerR said...

The Witchy Worries of Abbie Adams by Rhonda Hayter is a sweet book about friendships, trust, lies, family, and working together. Abbie, a young witch living in a mortal world struggles with the lies she tells her best friend, a person she would expect to be truthful with. But what's a young witch living a mortal world to do when her best friend isn't a witch? Fortunately Abbie has a wonderful family -- both her own and the witch community -- who all help her understand the conundrum and who all work together to solve the mystery of the book.

This isn't the next Harry Potter in terms of witch / wizard school, characters or can't put it down appeal. It is a nice easy read with good characters, funny lines, and a good plot that many will enjoy. I give it a 3.5 on the picnic basket scale.

Peacham Library

Angela said...

I feel like I just drank this book, I mean it's one of those books that goes down so smooth and because of this it's over much too fast. The characterization was masterfully done, and I could tell how much I was attached to the characters as my eyes filled with tears over the last 3 pages. Usually I don't pick the fantasy genre as a first choice, but I enjoyed how realistic and relatable the characters were in the midst of all that far-fetched witchy magic. I loved the idea that was lightly woven through the book about the magic in everyday life that exists, and I will admit that the book had me saying, "well, maybe witches do exist," as they referenced the Salem witches and real history. The time travel and Thomas Edison factors gave this book another layer and benefit for children reading it to learn a bit about the past. The vocabulary in the book was just right for a child to read this book on their own and pick up some new words from context. Abbie's voice as the narrator was strong and clear and I loved the way she addressed the audience directly, a writing technique that can be taught to students with this book as a model. Obviously, I'd rate this one a 5 out of 5!

Cyndi Readsboro Community Library Vermont said...

Too bad 5 is the highest rating ... this book in my opinion is a 10. The life of Abbie Adams and her challenge is to juggle two separate worlds witchy and human as she struggles with the situations that a pre teen faces. She discovers solutions to her problems that will shed light and model to the yong readers how to handle their own situations. A fun read ... I plan to share it with the classroom during aloud reading.

Charlotte said...

I enjoyed this one!

Off the top of my head, I feel that there are a number of books about families of witches living among us. But I think Hayter does a fine job making that aspect of her story fresh and fun. Abbie's problems are vexing enough to cause her real anxiety, while still staying firmly on this side of entertaining. The magic side of things is interesting, although sketched rather than explored and explained in detail.

It is the time-travelling kitten, however, who steals the show. Poking his little nose into every gadget around, Tom marvels at the 21st century. Even though for much of the book he's unable to express his feelings, it's clear that he's utterly fascinated by everything he's learning. And it's great fun to watch his relationship with Abbie unfolding--even though I shrink from Life Lessons in books, it's a pleasure to watch his example of hard work rub on her.

I don't think I've ever read a book in which someone time travels to the future enchanted as an animal. It's a fine premise in its own right, and even more fun that it is someone so very famous. The addition of Thomas Edison to Abbie's witchy world makes what could have been just a light, fun, book into a still light, but very fun indeed, book. And I think Tom, hero to all scientifically minded ten year olds that I know, adds a generous dollop of boy friendliness. I am determined to try it on my ten year old, using Tom as a hook...

Heather Hill said...

The Witchy Worries of Abbie Adams is a delightful read. The characters are easy to identify with, even though they are witches and the reader is most likely not. The story moves quickly and the plot surprise featuring Thomas Edison is nicely done.
Students in grades 3-6 will enjoy this book. I am anxious to see if Rhonda Hayter writes another featuring Abbie and begins a series. I don't feel like I am done reading about the excitement in Abbie's life. I hope I am right. This book is a 5 out of 5.

Heather Hill, Reading Specialist
Enterprise Elementary
Woodbridge, VA

Mrs. Horne said...

I really enjoyed this book...such a "cute" story for younger girls. The characters were the best part of the book for me, and I could definitely see using them for a study on character.

Great job - great book - I give this one a 5!

wisteria said...

I loved The Witchy Worries of Abbie Adams...Hayter captivated me with her magical writing spell. Her adorable, always trying to be good witch... Abbie was a hoot.

Rhonda Hayter tells a hilariously imaginative story, with witty dialogue and a host of misfit characters. Told through Abbie's point of view, a bright, adorable, sarcastic and sensitive witch who you will fall in love with. You will chuckle at her thought process and cleverness. Thomas Edison, the boy in disguise as a cat is naturally inquisitive and you can only imagine what he thinks of our 21st century life.

The book lends itself so well as a riveting read-a-loud. The Witchy Worries of Abbie Adams is a charming fun-filled book about family, time travel and a little magic in a not so typical family, yet it seems some things never change.

wisteria said...

OOPS! I forgot the rating. A Picnic Basket 5, no doubt. As a media specialist in elementary school, this will become a popular checkout.

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful little book! I cannot wait to see my 4th graders fall into the magicial world of Abbie Adams. The cover of the book will lure girls; however, the storyline is well suited for boys. I know my kids will probably be competing over who will read it next. This book is guaranteed to "fly" off the classroom library shelf. As a fourth grade teacher, this will make me very happy.

Rate: 5/5

Julia Pitau said...

To start off, I was very excited when I opened the package and saw that I was a lucky recipient of this book. As I read through "The Witchy Worries" I couldn't help think about how much this book would be enjoyed by the students at our school. I would like to see the author come out with a book from Munch's point of view to pull in more of the male readers. This book is full of fun and adventure. I love the way Rhonda Hayter incorporated vocabulary and definition and so smoothly (thank you). Could this be the first of a series? I certaintly hope so.

Picnic Rating: 3

Denair Charter Academy
3460 Lester Road
Denair, CA 95316

Lemon the Duck said...

The author gives Abbie a great voice and moves the story along with lots of humor and twists. This is a fun read with a non-preachy message. I find the cover and story will attract more girls, but boys will certainly enjoy it if they give it a try.
I rate this book a 4 out of 5.
Laura Backman
Hathaway School

Anonymous said...

Rhonda Hayter has crafted a truly unique story using timeless characters - an annoying yet lovable little brother, a pair of preoccupied parents, and an evil scientist, though in Hayter's case it's an evil witch!

Overall, the story of Abbie Adams is a fun one, I have some complaints which result in a Picnic Basket rating of 3. I found the first several chapters a bit disjointed and, while the back-story provided in these chapters was integral to the story, I didn't know what to do with the info as I read it. This might pose a small hurdle to some reluctant readers, but their persistence will pay off.

I would have liked to learn more about Callie and their budding new best-friendship. Perhaps this would be an excellent path for a sequel?!

My favorite line comes from Chapter 8:
"Of course it's true about books being magic, and I really like books a lot..." Hayter has created a bit of magic with Abbie Adams - a character I'd like to see again.

Carolyn A.
YA Librarian

sbcmom said...

This is a fun, uplifting story. I would recommend it to 6th and 7th graders. It's a light-hearted story with nicely-developed characters and an interesting story line. Gotta love Benjamin Franklin! I also enjoyed the interplay between Abbie and her little brother; very typical sibling relationship. This book would be perfect for 6th & 7th graders. 4 out of 5 stars.

Anonymous said...

I would definitely recommend the book The Witchy Worries of Abbie Adams by Rhonda Hayter, to those who are interested in history and those who believe in magic. This book is a beautiful, original story about a 5th grade witch who has many troubles in school and at home, with both her malicious teacher, Miss Lineger and her brother Munch, who was named Munch because when he was a baby, he tried to bite Abbie, therefore earning the name, Munch. Emerging from a long line of witches, Abbie Adams has a difficult time keeping her witch secret from her best friend Callie, and pretty much everybody else. Unlike many other magic-involved stories, this one is unpredictable and takes the occasional twist and turn to a whole other level in which the reader gets completely and utterly captivated by the pure whit of the exciting and interesting characters and the fun of the whole book. The main character, Abbie Adams, plays as your narrator of the story. After a long day of getting an extra assignment on Ben Franklin, sneezing until she hit her poor head on the ceiling, and freezing time just to stop her little brother from chowing down on his own teacher, she finally gets home with her best friend Callie, planning on doing the extra assignment on Benjamin Franklin with her. Unfortunately, Abbie faces the problem of her dad making a big scene of getting into the house, being as he used magic and smoke was furiously puffing out of his ears. It’s a BIG problem because Callie doesn’t know about Abbie being a witch, so Abbie is forced to put another time freeze spell on her best friend to make sure she didn’t see her dad making a big magical fuss about something. When Abbie goes downstairs, she is amazed to find an adorable little black kitten magically appear into her open hand. Later on, she finds out that this kitten has a weird, twisted secret, but can’t communicate it. Then… well, read the book and see for yourself!!