Review For Penelope Parker

Penelope Parker: Witch in Training is a fun little fantasy book. There is an obvious analogy to be made with the Harry Potter series – a child goes to a school of witchcraft and wizardry to be trained to control her powers. However, there are a few things that set Penelope apart. First, PP:WIT is centered around female characters. While it certainly isn’t a girly book (male readers will love it too–no fairy princess nonsense), there is more opportunity for young female readers to identify with the main characters in this book than in some of the other books in this same genre. Further, the magical instruction and rituals in the book reference genuine Wiccan practices. This lends a sense of realism and solemnity to the magical themes that is missing from most witch and wizard books. I think readers will find this both enthralling and educational.


PP:WIT is action packed, and moves very quickly. It is descriptive enough to draw the reader in to its magical world, but it does not get bogged down in overly long descriptions or dialogues. As such, it is perfect for young readers who aren’t yet accustomed to reading lengthy novels, or for older readers who just want a fun quick read.


The book’s vocabulary is challenging at moments, but not so much as to take away from the experience. Young readers may find that every few pages there is a word they have to look up, or ask an adult about. This is just enough of a challenge to expand a young readers vocabulary and to make them feel like reading this book was an accomplishment.


PP:WIT ends leaving the reader wanting more. The characters are likeable and interesting, and by the end I found myself genuinely interested in their exploits, and concerned for their well being. I, for one, welcome and anticipate a sequel.


Word to the wise: the characters are always hungry, and always snacking on something good. Have some snacks on hand while you are reading. ~J.H.

About Susan McCaskill

Susan (or Sue, as she prefers to be called), was born in post war England, and lived there until the age of nine, when she and her mother emigrated to Canada. Her father died when she was nine, and left a huge impression on her. Both her parents encouraged her to read, and learn. She has always believed in fairies and elves, and probably always will, and as a child, she saw things many others didn't, and as a result she was thought to be a little strange.

Sue currently lives on beautiful Vancouver Island with her husband and three demanding cats.

Although she has been in Canada for so many years, she still misses the English and Welsh countryside, and because of this, her novel is based in the ancient, picturesque town of Betws-Y-Coed.

About herself, she says:

"I think I was born a writer, and got more confidence thanks to my grade five teacher, who was wonderful, and fostered my love for writing. I didn't write for almost 40 years, because of raising kids, life happenings, the usual drama. I started again sporadically ten years ago, and finished my first Mid Grade fantasy in 2013. Currently working on book 2.

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