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The Knitting Witch


Newly discovered title from Magic Elizabeth author, Norma Kassirer! Pub date September 17, 2024 Pre-order now from your favorite book retailer!


Ivy Lou seems to have it all—except friends. So when a witch appears and knits up some magical playmates, Ivy Lou's parents hire her. Things quickly worsen as Ivy Lou finds her new friends, parents, and fancy house disappearing, leaving her captive in the witch's hastily knit Horrid Little Hut.

    The witch has her own motives—to groom Ivy Lou to be a witch's child. Ivy Lou, who turns out to be terrible at making potions, casting spells, and riding on a broomstick, has met her match. Even her threat of Tantrum Number Three, to turn herself inside out, doesn't faze this witch. Finally, as the witch is out on her nightly broomstick rounds, a terrified Ivy Lou, enchanted knitting needles in hand, has only until midnight to unknit the Horrid Little Hut and restore the life she knew. 

    Will Ivy Lou manage to get back home, or is she doomed to become a witch's child forever?


The Back Story!


Recently Norma’s daughter Sue discovered a manuscript, The Knitting Witch, under a stack of manuscripts, while packing up her late mother’s writing room. Sue was excited—and amazed—to see it, for she not seen or heard of it since she was a small child, but thoroughly remembered being delighted and spellbound by it when her mother had read it to her. Sue immediately sat down on the floor of her mother’s office, began reading—and found herself as enchanted as she had been all those years earlier. It was still as good! It was her mother’s voice! Worried that this may be the only copy in existence (typed on onion skin, and frail at that), Sue immediately looked in her mother’s computer to find a digital copy, and finding none, quickly entered the story into the computer.
     The question was, why had her mother, a published author, never shown this story to her editors or submitted it for publication? Sue had worked for many years herself as a children’s book editor and had never heard her mother mention it. She was well aware of other manuscripts her mother had, waiting to be published. Sue soon figured out that the book was neither a picture book nor a chapter book. It fell somewhere in that netherworld between the two. And at the time her mother had written it, Beginning Chapter Books were not yet a format. But now they were! Sue set out to see if the book could be divided into chapters and maintain its charm and ability to enchant. She was amazed to find how easily it fit into this format, and delighted in how the number of chapters and length were just perfect. At this point she also updated the story in various ways, aware of the delicate line she was walking between doing so and maintaining her mother’s singular voice.
     Enter the illustrator! Happy with the story and wanting to share it, Sue showed it to some friends, one of whom was an artist and illustrator. Mark Richardson was enchanted and inspired and began making some sketches, which Sue felt totally captured her mother’s sensibility. And so a year-long project began for Mark in which he not only illustrated the whole book (with more than 20 pieces of art) but, being a professionally-trained book maker, proceeded to produce 40 exquisite handmade editions (an extremely large print run for him) which went to family and friends of Norma, Sue, and Mark. Sue felt that Mark had taken the story to a whole new level—one that was meant to be, and that her mother would have loved.
     Of course, more people wanted copies—and so Sue began looking into commercially publishing The Knitting Witch. Enter The Collective Book Studio, whose editors and publisher were also enchanted and made an offer to publish the book. It will be available, in hardcover, in Fall 2024--just in time for Halloween!

Magic Elizabeth

Magic Elizabeth, a timeless and magical chapter book for middle-grade children that is featured in Eden Ross Lipson’s New York Times Parents Guide to the Best Books for Children (Revised and Updated Edition), was first published by The Viking Press in 1966 and subsequently by Scholastic, Random House, and Harper Collins in paperback editions. It is currently available in a serialized edition through Breakfast Serials, Inc. at https://www.breakfastserials.com/serial-magic-elizabeth-publishers.php. Generations of children continue to enjoy this timeless story, which has garnered 78 ratings on Amazon.com and 50 five-star rave reviews, and
647 ratings and 119 reviews on Goodreads.

The Doll Snatchers

If April and Clary hadn't come to Snarkville that summer, Putney Witherton might still be a villain--a doll snatcher, employed by wicked Mrs. Hasp, who used The Bird's Nest, her well-known restaurant, as a cover for her nefarious activities. And if Putney had knowsn that April and Clary would be staying in the gloomy old Snark place, he would have refused to steal the Mechanical Doll. But he didn't know, plus he wasn't very smart, which led to the beginning of a series of preposterous and uproarious events that will delight all readers.

The Hidden Wife

A stunning collection of six of Norma Kassirer's best short stories for adult readers, enhanced by the masterful and playful collage pieces by Willyum Rowe.

From Steven Moore, in "The Review of Contemporary Fiction" (Summer, 1992):
"What does democracy have to do with art?" asks the writer in the title story of Norman Kassirer's brilliant collection of short fiction. Kassirer doesn't write democratically for the masses but for connoisseurs of the unusual and innovative. The opening story, "Missing Hollywood," concerns a woman who conceives of her actions in cinematic terms, and Kassirer cleverly appropriates the vocabulary of film to animate this vignette of a failing marriage. The story's wry sense of humor and imaginative imagery ("The girl is tossing kisses. They rush at the car, a butterfly herd") distinguish it from the average story of a failing relationship, just as "The Hidden Wife" employs similar fancifulness to enliven a story about a writer's relation to her characters. "The Unbearably Extended Family" is giddy with Stanley Elkin-like tropes and wisecracks as it explores the tense relationship between an artist named Millicent and her irony-resistant mother. This artist returns in "More or Less Post-Modern Millicent" (maybe not—this one speaks like a Valley girl? with, like, a question mark after every sentence?), another dizzying send-up of postmodern overkill regarding reference, quotation, and the means of artistic production. "O," like "Missing Hollywood," examines a flagging relationship via sex fantasies that comically fail until the woman hits upon a unique one for her accountant partner. The collection ends with "Song and Dance," outwardly the most conventional story, but like the others characterized by unusual metaphors, sharp wit, and keen insights into relationships. The book is large (9 x 11) and illustrated with surrealistic collages that, for me, didn't enhance the reading but for others may be one more attraction of this lively collection of stories.