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The Active-Enzyme Lemon-Freshened Junior High School Witch by E.W. Hildick
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5 stars: Completely enjoyable or compelling
4 stars: Good but flawed
3 stars: Average
2 stars: OK
1 star: Did not finish

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Comments for The Active-Enzyme Lemon-Freshened Junior High School Witch

The Active-Enzyme Lemon-Freshened Junior High School Witch: 09/29/14

cover art

There is a short list of books that defines any person who is a reader. It varies from person to person but every list has its own story and each book on it will evoke a memory and a time period in that person's life.

On my list is The Active-Enzyme Lemon-Freshened Junior High School Witch by E.W. Hildick. It, for it's title alone, is the reason I've been keeping a lit of every book I've read since 1987. See, in elementary school, this book was one of the last ones I read, just as I was becoming an enthusiastic pleasure reader. I read it initially for the cover art and to a lesser degree, the goofy title. And while I tore through the book in about two days — because I was in the mood for a book about a girl my age being home sick (I had chicken pox, she had measles) and becoming a witch (no luck on my part).

By seventh grade, not six months after finishing the book, I realized I wanted to re-read it. Except there was a problem — a big one. I wasn't at my old school any more, and I couldn't remember the title of the book (except that it was long). I could remember that it was published by Dell Yearling (horse logo). What I could have done (and didn't) was ask the librarian at the new school if she could help me based on what I could remember. In the meantime, I decided I shouldn't run the risk of forgetting a title again. So I started a list (which after the advent of the world wide web, evolved into this book blog).

In my second year of junior high, fortune went my way in the form of a readers advisory display at the library. There among a bunch of other upper elementary school books (for the "Read it again!" display), was The Active-Enzyme Lemon-Freshened Junior High School Witch by E.W. Hildick. I immediately checked it out so I could add it to my list and never forget the title again.

That second reading was as fun as first time, though this time I hone in on the relationship between the two sisters — the older one who actually found the book and wanted to be a witch, and the younger one who despite her flippancy, seemed to have the natural talent for it. As an older sister, now watching my brother start to excel at things that I'd never dream of trying, I understood the sentiment.

Then as part of turning 40 I decided to purchase a copy for myself and re-read an old favorite, one I still think of, all these years later. The book and I were both turning 40 so it seemed appropriate.

In this last reading, I have to admit that the magic wasn't there as much. The whole measles plot seems quaint and contrived. The magic that both girls believe they are accomplishing, also doesn't seem there. Though it's hinted that the neighbor might be a witch (as evidenced by all his awesome old brooms), this time it seemed to be more a case rationalizing on the part of the sisters, than of actual magic.

Perhaps the first couple times I skimmed and read into the book the story I wanted to read. Maybe most of the enjoyment stemmed from my own misunderstanding and misinterpretation of Hildick's words. Or maybe I've just matured and because I'm now relating more to the adults in the book (the parents and neighbors).

I think I'll revisit this book in a few more years to see what I get out of it then.

Four and a half stars

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