Heidi Hecklebeck has a Secret

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by Wanda Coven
Overall: 3 out of 5 stars

This is the first book in the series and it starts rather abruptly, with Heidi starting second grade mid-year after being homeschooled up until that point. You don’t know why the sudden change, or where in the school year the story is set, but you do know that a) Heidi has a younger brother who is also starting kindergarten the same day (also mid-year…? also odd) and b) she meets a classmate who is unkind and another classmate who is friendly. At the end of the book, Heidi tries to come up with a way to deal with the mean classmate; in addition to calling her names, Heidi reveals at the very end that she is a witch and will use magic on the mean girl (but the cliffhanger is that you don’t know what exactly will happen).

I thought the drawings of Heidi by Priscilla Burris were charming, and the way the book started off equally charming, even if I was distracted by not knowing all the details of how/why Heidi stopped being homeschooled mid-year. I did like Heidi’s friend, Lucy, but I was thrown by the right turn into meanness and witchcraft. (To be clear, I don’t object to witchcraft, I just didn’t see it coming; it was not hinted at in the slightest. I do, however, object to meanness as a problem-solving technique.) As an intermediate chapter book, it wasn’t bad, but I’m going to keep my eyes open for better ones to recommend.

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