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Four Kids, Three Cats, Two Cows, One Witch (maybe) by Siobhan Parkinson
Reviewed by Shannon Library Children’s Book Club

This story begins when Beverly notices a small island as she’s walking along the beach during a holiday at a seaside town with her parents. She decides to take a trip there and explore. She ends up bringing three others with her, Kevin, Elizabeth and Gerard and his cat – Fat. Beverly is the leader of the group and organises lots of supplies for their picnic. They walk over to the island when the tide is low.

From the moment they get there, they have a weird feeling about the place. Kevin is a local boy and he knows that a strange woman lives on the island. They each tell an elaborate story while they’re on the island but they can’t understand how they thought them up.

Things start to go wrong when the kids separate; Elizabeth twists her ankle and they loose their supplies. They decide they must go for help to the only house on the island. There they meet Dymphna. At first they are scared of her, she acts in a crazy manner but they soon realise that she is harmless and they become friendly. She cures Elizabeth’s ankle although the kids can’t understand how she did it, it’s like magic. At the end of the day they have a feast and Dymphna helps them get home by lending them her boat.

We really liked this book. It’s a good adventure and the stories the kids tell are really interesting and a good break from the main story. We liked the characters in the book, especially Gerard and his big cat called Fat.

We didn’t like it that we never found out if Dymphna was really a witch or why the kids told all the stories. It was a bit of an anticlimax when the kids actually met Dymphna. Some members of the group did not like Beverly. They thought she was a very bossy and annoying character.

Overall we would give these books marks seven and a half out of ten.