The Spell Thief is the first book in the Little Legends series by Tom Percival and is currently scheduled for release on December 6 2016. Jack (of the beanstalk fame) and his magical talking chicken, Betsy, have always been great at making new friends. But when Jack spots Anansi, the new kid in town, talking to a troll in the Deep Dark Woods, everything changes. Everyone knows that trolls mean trouble, and Jack will do anything to prove to the rest of his friends that Anansi is a troll spy. Even if that means using stolen magic!
The Spell Thief is a nice transitional book, good for those on harder easyreaders and easy chapter books. The characters are already well known to fairy tale fans, and the illustrations are fun and charming. Even readers that are not fully versed in fairy tale lore will quickly catch on and enjoy the story. Anansi is the new boy and town and Jack is a little jealous of the attention he is getting from his friends and the fact that his worries are ignored by those same friends. Jack gets so caught up in proving he is right that he changes, and almost loses friends, old and new. While the story was interesting I found the lessons of jumping to conclusions and judging others to be a little heavy handed, as was the point about obsession. It was still a good read, and I think many of the target audience will enjoy it, but I did not love it. I think including Anansi might also spark some interest in fairy tales that young readers might not know yet, and exploring a wider variety of tales.