Clever Little Witch

by Muon Thi Van (Author) Hyewon Yum (Illustrator)

Clever Little Witch
Reading Level: 2nd − 3rd Grade

Magical mayhem and hilarity ensue when a clever little witch tries to turn her baby brother into a goldfish in this funny and imaginative picture book about sibling rivalry.

Little Linh is the cleverest little witch on Mãi Mãi island. She has everything she could need: a trusty broomstick, a powerful spell book, and a magical pet mouse. She also has a new brother named Baby Phu, and she does not like him one bit. He crashes her broomstick, eats pages out of her spell book, and keeps her up all night. Little Linh tried giving Baby Phu away, but nobody will take him, not even the Orphanage for Lost and Magical Creatures. So, she'll just have to try something turning him into a goldfish. The only problem is, Baby Phu ate the second half of the spell. Still, there's a reason Little Linh is the cleverest little witch. She can guess the second half of the spell...but it might take a few tries.

Find books about:

Kirkus Reviews

A charming take on sibling conflict. (Picture book. 4-6).


An entertaining witch story perfect for kids who love but struggle with younger siblings.

Publishers Weekly

Va˘n (In a Village by the Sea) sets this magical caper on Mãi Mãi Island, where Little Linh shows readers the items every witch needs (a broomstick, spell book, and winged mouse), then presents her problem: "Do you know what a clever little witch does not need? A baby brother." Baby Phu, it seems, squalls, chews on spell books, and messes with his sibling's broomstick. After offering Baby Phu to the island's otherworldly creatures (they aren't interested), Linh decides to turn him into a goldfish. He's eaten the page the spell is printed on, so she improvises, chanting, "From the tip of your nose to the top of your toes, bubble eyes, marble size, let me see those fishy eyes." The spell doesn't work, and Yum (Bark in the Park!) draws the resulting mayhem as Baby Phu turns into a succession of animals, none of them goldfish. Yet when all goes awry, it's Baby Phu who comes to the rescue. Linh has spirit and energy, even when things aren't going her way, but the story's real draw lies in its Southeast Asian setting--clever little witches can be found everywhere. Ages 4-6. Author's agent: Liza Fleissig, Liza Royce Agency. Illustrator's agent: Sean McCarthy, Sean McCarthy Literary Agency. (July)

Copyright 2019 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.

School Library Journal

PreS-Gr 1--Little Linh, the self-proclaimed "cleverest little witch on Mãi Mãi Island" has everything a witch needs--a broomstick, a book of spells, and a cute winged mouse familiar. Unfortunately, she also has a pesky toddler brother who wreaks havoc flying on Linh's broomstick, chews up her book of spells, and uses her magic pet to keep her up at night. To rid herself of the nuisance, she offers up Baby Phu to other magical denizens of the island but they want nothing to do with him. Exasperated, the little witch decides to turn him into a goldfish and discovers that half of the spell page has been eaten by Phu. Efforts to improvise the second half turn the little terror into a frog, a seal, and finally a dragon who, in the end, saves his older sister from a fall. Yum's cheerful acrylic gouache and color pencil illustrations depict a pleasant island setting with serene ocean and palm trees contrasts with the characters' cartoonishly expressive faces that radiate mischief, annoyance, alarm, and occasional contentment. VERDICT A magical and humorous, but entirely relatable tale of sibling rivalry (and reconciliation).--Yelena Voysey, formerly at Pickering Educational Library, Boston University

Copyright 2020 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

Review quotes

Muon Thi Van
Muon Thi Van is the critically acclaimed picture book author of In a Village by the Sea, The Little Tree, and The Most Terrible of All. She lives in northern California with her family. Visit her at

Hyewon Yum is the author and illustrator of Puddle; The Twins' Little Sister; Last Night, a Fiction Honorable Mention for the Bologna Ragazzi award and winner of the Golden Kite Award; There Are No Scary Wolves, winner of Society of Illustrators' Founder's Award; The Twins' Blanket, a Junior Library Guild selection; and Mom, It's My First Day of Kindergarten!, which won the Ezra Jack Keats New Illustrator Award and was selected as a Kirkus Reviews Best Book of the Year. Hyewon's latest, A Piece of Home, written by Jeri Watts, received multiple starred reviews. Hyewon lives in Brooklyn, New York. Learn more at
Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Margaret K. McElderry Books
Publication date
July 20, 2019
BISAC categories
JUV019000 - Juvenile Fiction | Humorous Stories
JUV037000 - Juvenile Fiction | Fantasy & Magic
JUV013070 - Juvenile Fiction | Family | Siblings
JUV017030 - Juvenile Fiction | Holidays & Celebrations | Halloween
JUV012060 - Juvenile Fiction | Legends, Myths, Fables | Asian
Library of Congress categories
Brothers and sisters
Picture books

Subscribe to our delicious e-newsletter!