Books and Movies Reviews

Pure Dead Magic

Things are not right at the Strega-Borgia castle. Signor Luciano Strega-Borgia has been kidnapped. Signora Baci Strega-Borgia is struggling with her spells at the Advanced Witchcraft Institute.Titus and Pandora don’t like their suspiciously cheerful and fearless new nanny. Baby Damp has been accidentally shrunk, e-mailed, and lost on the World Wide Web. And to top it off, there’s a gangster in a bunny suit lurking about. . . .This seriously over-the-top, gothic romp is sure to have readers clamoring for the next Strega-Borgia adventure.From the Hardcover edition.

Welcome to StregaSchloss, the ancestral castle of the Scottish clan Strega-Borgia. Ignore the sign at the gate that reads, “Warning! Trespassers will be (a) served for breakfast, (b) turned into frogs, (c) forced to eat Brussels sprouts.” Cross over the drawbridge, try not to get eaten by the crocodile in the moat, ring the bell, and don’t flinch when the butler, Latch, drags open the heavy door and intones “You rang?” Meet the inhabitants: Titus, 12; his sister Pandora, 10; the baby, Damp; their Mary Poppins-like nanny, Mrs. McLachlan; the grim housemaid, Marie Bain; and down in the dungeon, the large untidy house pets–a yeti, a griffin, and a dragon. Signora Strega-Borgia is away at her witchcraft class; Signor Strega-Borgia has been kidnapped by his evil brother, and at the bottom of the freezer in the wine cellar is the ancestral grandmother, Strega-Nonna, wrapped in several layers of aluminum foil, waiting for a cure for old age to be discovered. Now get ready for some of the most deliciously bizarre and hilarious goings-on ever to grace a cyber-gothic-gangster fantasy. Pandora accidentally shrinks Damp with her mother’s Disposawand and the tiny baby crawls into the computer modem and is whisked away into cyberspace; some spectacularly inefficient gangsters (including one in a rabbit suit) arrive and are up to no good; Titus sends his pet spider, Tarantella, into the Internet (mother of all webs) to find Damp; and Mrs. McLachlan comes to everybody’s rescue in an uproarious finale to the most original fantasy in years. (Ages 10 to 14) –Patty Campbell

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