Jill Thompson’s Scary Godmother series never got the success I thought it deserved. Her new series, Magic Trixie, takes a different approach to a world of magic and fun. Instead of a niece who gets to wander into a fantasy world occasionally, Magic Trixie is a little girl with her own powers, a talking cat, and a wild shock of blazing orange hair.
She’s also incredibly realistic, which makes her behavior believable to anyone who’s either seen a been a grumpy little girl who doesn’t want to get up and who’s jealous of the special attention her new baby sister gets. Her best friend, Stitch, is a little Frankenstein boy, and her “Monstersorri School” classmates include little werewolves, mummies, and vampire twins. Loupie Garou is a particular torment. “For a werewolf, she sure is catty,” says Trixie to her cat Scratches. (The cast is reminiscent of Little Gloomy’s, but with very different appearances.)
The character design is manga-influenced and very cute, with large heads and eyes, but told in Thompson’s beautiful painted style. It’s the details of her world that make it outstanding, with Trixie’s crowded home and the city streets full of opportunity for kids with imagination. The best parts of the book are the small ones, like Trixie’s trip to school, as she rides past shops and through the park on a broom with training wheels, erm, landing gear. The pictures can be stared at for hours.
Of course, by the end Trixie comes to understand why the rules are different for babies. But it’s not because she’s told so, but because she learns to see with new eyes once her friends are involved. This is a wonderful story for youngsters and adults to share, with something for everyone.
The sequel, Magic Trixie Sleeps Over, starts with Trixie driving her parents crazy as they try to get her ready for bed. In an attempt to escape her bath and teeth-brushing routine, she spends the night with Loupie, who has her own habits. However, staying over with a pack of nocturnal wolves has its own fears. Trixie keeps trying, visiting with Princess Nefi the mummy and Stitch the patchwork boy and the vampire twins, which provides wonderful glimpses into the lives of baby monsters, only to find herself missing her own family. A change is as good as a rest, they say, and Trixie’s time with others refreshes her love for her home.