The Courage of Cat Campbell (Poppy Pendle #2)

by Natasha Lowe (Author)

Reading Level: 4th − 5th Grade
Series: Poppy Pendle

"Lowe echoes the whimsy of J.K. Rowling with...charismatic characters." --Publishers Weekly

"Fans of Matilda...will be happy to meet another spunky girl." --School Library Journal

Cat Campbell is a late-blooming witch whose magical abilities have yet to be mastered in this charming coming-of-age story set in the world of The Power of Poppy Pendle. Cat Campbell has had magical powers since the day she was born, but she didn't always know that. Cat's mother believes magic ruins lives, and even as Cat's passion for magic grows over the years, no one suspects she has the gift.

But she has indeed inherited the coveted magic gene of her famed great-great-grandmother Mabel, a discovery she makes in a most surprising way. And when she comes across a book called The Late Bloomer's Guide to Magic, she finds the encouragement she needs and spells that actually work. Then the town of Potts Bottom is threatened by a notoriously feared witch, and Cat has the chance to help her family and town--and to prove herself in the process. Because, as The Late Bloomer's Guide to Magic proclaims, "believing in your magic and yourself is half the battle."

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School Library Journal

Gr 3-7—Eleven year-old Cat Campbell wants the one thing her mother Poppy, the protagonist from The Power of Poppy Pendle (S. & S., 2012), never desired: to be a witch. Cat looks longingly at the pointy-hat girls from Ruthersfield Academy and dreams of inheriting her mother's magical gift. Her mother, a perfectly contented baker, prays that her daughter will escape this fate, but an attic encounter with a spider spooks Cat's powers into action. Unfortunately, being a "late bloomer" witch means unpredictable surges of power and an uncertain admission to Ruthersfield. Kind advice from a teacher has Cat determined to face her fears and control her power, even if it means confronting the most maleficent witch ever, Madeline Reynolds, newly escaped from an Azkaban-like prison with mayhem in mind. Lowe's charming addition to the world of Potts Bottom follows Cat's determined progress toward her goal, showing her failures and triumphs in a realistic arc. The author's treatment of the mother-daughter relationship smoothly blends whimsical fantasy elements with scenes that readers will recognize from their own family squabbles. Cat's adventures in courage give new treatment to the familiar idea that parents want their children to avoid making their own mistakes. To this, Lowe adds some truly laugh-out-loud moments between Cat and her friend Peter. The book concludes with "magical" recipes to bake at home. Stock both of Lowe's novels at your library: fans of Matilda or Alice Miranda will be happy to meet another spunky girl.—Caitlin Augusta, Stratford Library Association, CT

Copyright 2014 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

Publishers Weekly

In this lighthearted sequel to The Power of Poppy Pendle, Lowe introduces Cat Campbell, daughter of the now-adult Poppy Pendle, who chose baking over magic. As such, Poppy is not thrilled when Cat finally shows signs of being a witch. After Rutherfield Academy, the local school for witches, rejects Cat for her uncontrollable magical abilities, she devises a plan to gain admittance by capturing feared witch Madeline Reynolds, who has just escaped from Scrubs Prison for erasing half of Italy. Cat captures Reynolds, though she turns her best friend, Peter, into a guinea pig in the process. With patience and neighborly help, Cat becomes the witch she's always wanted to be, and finds a place for herself, balanced between her mother's baking and her own passions. Lowe echoes the whimsy of J.K. Rowling and Anna Dale with vibrant descriptions ("A burst of pink smoke covered the table, with showers of green sparkles shooting out like fireworks"), a cozy atmosphere (several "magical" recipes are included), and charismatic characters. Ages 8-12. Agent: Ann Tobias, A Literary Agency for Children's Books. (Jan.)

Copyright 2014 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.

Review quotes

Since the day she was born, Cat has wanted nothing more than to be a witch and study at the exclusive Ruthersfield Academy. Sadly, she shows no signs of having been born with the gift, and, crushingly, her mother, Poppy, is a talented witch who refuses to even discuss magic. In this charming sequel to The Power of Poppy Pendle (2012), Poppy has grown up and runs her own successful bakery. When a run-in with a spider activates a recessive magic gene in 11-year-old Cat, she is given a copy of The Late Bloomer's Guide to Magic and tries to live by its advice—"don't let fear stand in your way"—as she fights with her mother to be allowed to attend the academy, conquers her fear of spiders, and finds herself face to face with a notoriously evil witch who has escaped prison. Fans of the first novel will delight in this gentle, affirming fantasy, which is as focused on Poppy and Cat's relationship as it is on Cat's magical quest. Recipes from The Late Bloomer's Guide are included.—Booklist Online "December 22, 2014"
Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books
Publication date
December 15, 2015
Poppy Pendle
BISAC categories
JUV039060 - Juvenile Fiction | Social Themes | Friendship
JUV037000 - Juvenile Fiction | Fantasy & Magic
JUV013000 - Juvenile Fiction | Family | General
Library of Congress categories
Mothers and daughters

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