Bedtimes and Broomsticks

Magic Trixie, a young girl in a black frock and traditional witch's hat, with frizzy pink hair, smiling, arms raised, one eye open and one closed

What's even better than hearing that my niece can't come to the phone because she's engrossed in reading Magic Trixie?

I was recently made aware that E and her sister M — that's for privacy purposes, not because my sister names her children after street drugs and Fritz Lang movies — lent the book to a friend and were eagerly awaiting the sequel, Magic Trixie Sleeps Over. Sharing is great! And they need wait no longer. Uncle Brian had already bought it, and mailed it out after hearing this rather than hold onto it for the girls' upcoming visit. HarperCollins was smart to advertise the next installment in each book, price them low ($7.99 each), and of course snap up this series from the brilliant Jill Thompson to begin with.

covers to 'Magic Trixie' showing Trixie frolicking, holding a wand, followed by her small black cat, and 'Magic Trixie Sleeps Over', showing Trixie riding her magic-broom bicycle, Stitches the cat in a handbasket, with Loupie Garou the werewolf girl holding on behind her

Thompson is no stranger to supernaturalists with sass, having conjured up the delightful Scary Godmother more than a decade ago. (See my post from earlier this month.). Magic Trixie takes a different approach to the reader-identification dynamic: Here the little girl isn't a normal kid befriended and protected by the niftily powered sorceress but rather a witch herself. Like their creator, Magic Trixie and Scary Godmother both have curly orange hair; Trixie likes to turn hers pink, however, and her family is central to the action, whereas in Scary Godmother stories Hannah Marie's parents were barely seen. Trixie lives in an extremely vertical, multi-generational building that also houses the family business, a café called Elixir. As she tells her classmates, along with her mom, dad, teenaged cousin Tansy, and grandma-in-denial MiMi, "I also have a Grampy and Gramberry, and an Uncle Monkey and Noodle Lou. Then there's Dead Papa. He lives at the cemetery." If that isn't funny or kid-friendly enough for you, stay away, because Trixie also conjures ectoplasm out her nose and, in the central plot of the first book, jealously decides to pull some serious hoodoo on her baby sister, Abby Cadabra.

Nefi the mummy girl, wrapped in bandages with her dark hair out; Stitch Patch, a Frankenstein's monster of a boy with pale skin and visible stitches on his face; and the Twins, vampire boy and girl, white of hair and skin, smiling with fangs shown and wearing black robes whose arms are scalloped like bat wings

With the first book's sibling jealousy mostly resolved, another lesson is learned in Magic Trixie Sleeps Over. Trixie prefers spell-o-vision before bed ("I wanna see the killer robot and the swimsuit lady that gots a big sword," she says; my nieces will relate) to a bath ("Who sculpted a likeness of Scratches [the cat] out of her mashed potatoes at dinner?" "I only used my hands for the face part! And for eating"). Once she hears that her friends have very different evening rituals, well, Magic Trixie sleeps over, providing a series of inventive vignettes. Stitch Patch, made in a lab, snacks on batteries and is tucked into a series of glass jars each night; Egyptian princess Nefi, a mummy, is freshly rewrapped and partakes of oils but no food; the Twins, vampires, retire to the ghostly graveyard; and Loupie Garou, werewolf girl, roughhouses with her brothers and howls at the moon, exhausting even the hyperkinetic Trixie. Home, naturally, starts sounding pretty sweet.

Magic Trixie shares some thoughts in the first person on her blog. While sadly not updated since December, it features an introduction to the cast, panels from the books and original artwork throughout —including a glimpse at the next volume, Magic Trixie and the Dragon, due in June. I can't wait to devour my copy before the nieces get here.

Magic Trixie's exasperated mother standing at her bedroom door as Trixie, in witch hat and underwear, holds out her wand and makes her clothes dance around the room

Covers to and interior art from the first two Magic Trixie books © 2008 Jill Thompson.

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