Witches Garden

Children - Grade K-3rd
79 Pages
Reviewed on 11/17/2023
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Doreen Chombu for Readers' Favorite

Witches Garden is a children’s storybook written by Laurel Lorenzini with illustrations by Gabriel San Martin. In a magical land filled with witch doctors, vampires, werewolves, and many more creatures, Mags, a local witch doctor, plans to plant a nursery to restock her medicine. She buys all the necessary goods, plants her crops, and takes all the precautions to protect her garden. Unfortunately, she discovers that someone has been stealing from her garden. Desperate to catch the culprit, Mags casts spells and questions her magical critter-catcher who was tasked to watch over her garden, but this does not yield any results. She enlists the help of a plant whisperer and her sister Florencia, a non-practicing witch doctor who loves reading ancient spell books for fun. Will Mags ever discover the mystery of her missing plants, and will her story have a happy ending? Grab a copy to find out.

Witches Garden is a fun book with elements of a modern fairy tale and unique details that make it memorable. The story is unpredictable and has mystery, suspense, and adventure. Laurel Lorenzini introduces readers to a magical place with familiar creatures, where they trade in wish clams, spells, and charms and have a delivery company. It is all creative, and learning about the residents and their daily troubles was entertaining. Mags is missing her granddaughter Bo, who has traveled for school, and her daughter Miriam, who disappeared. Her being overwhelmed with the work in her store made her a likable and familiar everyday person you might bump into on the street. The book has beautiful art that visually narrates the story and makes the book colorful and eye-catching. Children will be attracted to the colors and love seeing all the amazing characters and enchanted locations. I loved reading this book and recommend adding it to your children’s book collection.

Liz Konkel

Witches Garden by Laurel Lorenzini has a delightfully quirky premise and characters. Mags has a special role in the town as the local witch who spends time helping everyone with whatever ails them. Her potion shop is where everyone goes when they need help and where you’ll encounter a variety of unique characters. A mystery unfolds when Mags discovers her screaming strawberries are missing from her garden. With her granddaughter away, she sets out to solve the mystery alone but she can’t imagine who in the town would do such a thing. She keeps an open mind as she searches for answers and works on ensuring that the ghoul flu potion is ready in time when the town will need it.

The tone is playful with great attention to detail that Laurel Lorenzini uses to bring this eccentric world to life. From the quirky names of plants (booberry) to the different creatures, every detail works toward establishing the Halloween aesthetic of the town. Children will enjoy the different characters and will love getting to know Bill the Vampire, Haggle Tooth, and Clevis the Werewolf. Through these characters, you’re able to see the importance that Mags has in the town and how she uses her garden to help people. Some also provide humor in the story such as a werewolf with a toothache, which will no doubt make children laugh. The illustrations are vivid, bright, and cheery images that fit the tone of the world that Lorenzini has created. These pair well with the zaniness of the characters and provide lovely peeks into the town such as Mags’ shop, the different beings, and her role. Witches Garden is a charming children’s chapter book that serves as a great foray into reading with a story that is lighthearted, quirky, and charming.

Courtnee Turner Hoyle

Laurel Lorenzini's character, Mags, is a witch who worries about her garden's success and her traveling granddaughter, Bo. She runs a shop that sells items to ease health problems, but she is overwhelmed by the increase in her business. In Witches Garden, Mags must discover how her screaming strawberries are disappearing before they all vanish. Luckily, she has the help of her renowned sister, Flo, and her other friends in Green Mist Bay. As she cares for her cat, Shadow, and a lizard, who hopes she doesn't see him, Mags works to solve the mystery and finds an unlikely assistant to work with her in her shop.

Laurel Lorenzini has created lovable and quirky characters. Witches and vampires, some of the beings that usually scare children, are given more helpful and cooperative roles in their community, reflecting more likable qualities. The illustrations by Gabriel San Martin pop off the pages and give more life to each part of the story. The narration is fast-paced, and a reader who is familiar with short chapter books will love learning about the harmonious atmosphere in Green Mist Bay. Readers will see examples of friendship, respect, releasing worry, and forgiveness throughout the pages, and the author leaves plenty of room for a series to develop. In the story, readers will learn who is stealing the screaming strawberries, but the mystery of Mags's daughter's disappearance is a subject Lorenzini can explore in another book. Children who enjoy tales about supernatural beings with a hint of mystery will like Witches Garden.