The first book in an exciting new chapter book series by John Bemelmans Marciano and Caldecott medalist Sophie Blackall.
Welcome to Benevento, an ancient town famous for its witches!
The children of Benevento have to be careful and clever to evade the clutches of such witches as the Manalonga, the Janara, and the Clopper, who hide in wells and under bridges, fly at midnight, and play tricks during Mischief Season.
Five cousins – Primo, Emilio, Rosa, Maria Beppina, and Sergio – share adventures and narrow escapes, and discover astonishing secrets as they outwit the witches in each exciting story.
Book #1 Mischief Season: a Twins Story The Janara are wrecking the farm with their nightly mischiefs. Father blames Rosa for everything that goes wrong, and it’s up to the Twins and their friends to find a way to stop the Janara. Will some mysterious advice from an unexpected source be the solution to their problems?
About the Author
Writer and artist John Bemelmans Marciano is the grandson of Ludwig Bemelmans. John has continued his grandfather’s legacy of the Madeline books with Madeline and the Old House in Paris, Madeline at the White House, and Madeline and the Cats of Rome. He is the author of Bemelmans: The Life and Art of Madeline’s Creator, and of The Nine Lives of Alexander Baddenfield, illustrated by Sophie Blackall. John lives in Brooklyn with his wife, Andromache, and their daughter, Galatea.
Sophie Blackall has illustrated more than thirty books, including Finding Winnie, for which she won the Caldecott medal, and the New York Times Best Illustrated books Big Red Lollipop and The Baby Tree, which she also wrote. Born in Australia, Sophie lives in Brooklyn with her children Olive and Edward.
John and Sophie share studio space in Brooklyn, which makes it easy for them to collaborate.
Praise for The Witches of Benevento series:
“Blackall’s delicate, lovely artwork is bewitching and Marciano’s text is, as the title implies, loaded with molto mischief. I can't wait to read what the Janara have in store for the Benevento kids next.” —Lane Smith, author of Return to Augie Hobble
“Not your run-of-the-mill chapter book. What we have here is a fresh, charming tale about an Italian village afflicted with witches and the brave, quarrelsome band of friends who try to make their acquaintance. A frisky, ingenious introduction to an old world and a new series.” —Annie Barrows, author of the Ivy and Bean series
“There is a mystery in Benevento—a mystery of witches and spirits and magic. Will you go back in time to this charming town and solve the mystery? And if you do, will you tell me what the solution is? Really! Please tell me! But watch out for the spirits. They are mischievous indeed... The Witches is a charming, intelligent tale, illustrated beautifully and evocatively. —Adam Gidwitz, author of A Tale Dark and Grimm
"Marciano builds a charming environment of magic and trickery using a pleasantly old-fashioned tone to tell gently scary stories of witches and spirits. Blackall’s beautiful two-color illustrations, in shades of gray and blue, adorn almost every page and contribute significantly to the antique look of the whole package. This refreshingly unusual tale will appeal to kids in love with fairy tales." —Booklist
"Loosely based on folklore and decorated with Blackall's two-color drawings of elfin figures in country dress on nearly every page, the comical tale kicks off a projected series set in the picturesque town." —Kirkus Reviews
"Magical spells and amusing characters with distinctive personalities, coupled with an engaging story with a twist, will captivate readers and leave them clamoring for future stories centered on the other cousins." —School Library Journal
"An old-world atmosphere and prickly sibling rivalry make the book read like a classic fairy tale, while an undercurrent of mystery paves the way for future books." —Publishers Weekly
"There is a lot of character development packed into this trim novel. Blackall’s warm, charming illustrations accent the text." —The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books