Tom Fletcher Book Club: Witch Wars by Sibeal Pounder

Tom Fletcher Book Club: Witch Wars by Sibeal Pounder

Watch Tom’s Bedtime Story:

Witch Wars by Sibeal Pounder

When Fran the Fabulous Fairy turns up in Tiga Whicabim’s shed to tell her she’s a witch, Tiga doesn’t believe her. Or at least not until Fran points out that TIGA WHICABIM is actually an anagram of I AM A BIG WITCH and magics her away down the drainpipes to compete in Witch Wars – the competition to crown the next Top Witch of Ritzy City.

Read Tom’s Review:

For people those who like Harry Potter, The Witches and The Hunger Games.

Magic. Witches. Hidden worlds down below the sink pipes. What’s not to like! This is a brilliantly magical story that takes you to a completely different world. A great book to get lost in for a while.

Favourite Quote
“‘You can come back any time,’ Fran said with a smile, ‘apart from on Wednesdays. This room doesn’t exist on Wednesdays.’”

PARENTS: Looking for strong female role models? All the characters in Witch Wars are female…like the dinosaurs in Jurassic Park. Or so they thought. Seriously though, not a dude in sight in this book. Girl power!

Read an Extract from Witch Wars:

1

Down the Plughole

It would have been very difficult to spot Fran the fairy on the day this story begins. Her dress may have been puffy, her hair may have been huge, but she was barely the size of a small potato.

Fran and her leaf were on a mission.

Fran was slowly sidestepping across a garden lawn, holding a large, limp leaf in front of her. She didn’t want the owner of the garden to see her because Miss Heks was a terrible old woman with a grim face and size eleven shoes. If she had seen Fran she would’ve squashed her immediately.

Fran and her leaf were on a mission. There was something very important in the shed at the bottom of Miss Heks’s garden. That something was a girl called Tiga Whicabim.

‘You!’ Tiga said, pointing at a slug that was sliding its way across an old stone sink. ‘You will be the star of my show! You will play the role of Beryl, an ambitious dancer with severe hiccups.’

Tiga had been in the shed for hours. The evil Miss Heks had been her guardian for as long as Tiga could remember and she had quickly learned to keep out of her way. If she didn’t, the old bat would make her sew up the holes in her disgusting, scratchy dresses. Or she would force Tiga to run up and down the garden in her gigantic, ugly shoes, bellowing things like ‘FASTER!’ and ‘OH, DID YOU TRIP?’ from the kitchen window.

Tiga shone a torch on the slug.

‘You are going to be the best actor the world has ever seen!’ she cried.

Fran sighed when she saw that.

Not because she’d finally found Tiga, after a long and perilous journey that had almost ended with her being eaten by a dog.

No, the reason Fran sighed was because she loved a bit of acting!

Despite her small size, Fran was a big deal in the world of show business. Everyone called her Fran the Fabulous Fairy (a name she had made up for herself). She had hosted many award-winning TV shows like Cooking for Tiny People and The Squashed and the Swatted and she’d played the lead role in Glittery Sue – a tragic drama about a small lady called Sue who got some glitter in her hair and couldn’t get it out again.

‘An actor you say!’ Fran said, making Tiga jump.

Tiga stared, mouth open, at the small person that marched across the shed and – very ungracefully, and with much grunting – climbed up the leg of her trusty old rocking chair.

Fran stretched out a hand.

‘Very delighted to meet you, Tiga! Now, it’s pronounced Teega, isn’t it? That’s what I thought! I’m very good at names and absolutely everything else. I’m Fran the Fabulous Fairy. But you can call me Fran. Or Fabulous. BUT NEVER JUST FAIRY. I hate that.’

Tiga tried to avoid eye contact and instead looked at the slug. She couldn’t be sure, but it looked a lot like it was shaking its head at her.

Tiga, understandably, assumed she had gone mad. Or at the very least fallen asleep.

She squinted at the little thing with big hair and then looked to the slug for reassurance, but it was sliding its way across the floor as if it knew exactly who Fran was, and was trying to escape.

‘I don’t think,’ Fran said, pointing at the slug, ‘that she should be acting in the lead role. She is slimy and not paying much attention.’

Fran wiggled a foot and a beehive of hair just like her own appeared on top of the slug’s head.

‘Much, much, much better,’ she said.

Tiga panicked – the slug had hair! Not any old hair, a beehive of perfectly groomed hair! It was a split-second reaction, but with a flick of her hand she batted the fairy clean off the rocking chair.

Fran wobbled from left to right and tried to steady herself.

‘Did you just swat me?’ she snapped. ‘The ultimate insult!’

Tiga tried to avoid eye contact and instead looked at the slug. She couldn’t be sure, but it looked a lot like it was shaking its head at her.

‘WITCHES ARE NOT ALLOWED TO SWAT FAIRIES. IT IS THE LAW,’ Fran ranted.

‘I’m sorry!’ Tiga cried. ‘I didn’t think you were real – I thought you were just my imagination! You don’t need to call me a witch.’

‘Yes I do,’ said Fran, floating in front of Tiga with her hands on her hips. ‘Because you are one.’

‘I am one what?’ Tiga asked.

‘One witch,’ said Fran as she twirled in the air, got her puffy dress caught in her wings and crash-landed on the floor.

‘BRAAAAT!’ came a bellow from across the garden. ‘Time to leave the shed. Your dinner is ready!’

Tiga glanced nervously out of the window. ‘If you are real, although I’m still not convinced you are, you’d better leave now. Miss Heks is a terrible old woman and she will do horrible, nasty, ear-pinching things to you.’

And with that she flicked her tiny finger, sending a burst of glittery dust sailing across the room.

Fran ignored her and went back to twirling in the air.

‘What are you having for dinner?’

‘Cheese water,’ Tiga said with a sigh. ‘It’s only ever cheese water.’

Fran thought about this for a moment. ‘And how do you make this cheese water?’

‘You find a bit of mouldy old cheese and you put it in some boiling water,’ said Tiga, looking ill.

Fran swooped down lower and landed on the sink.

‘Well, I’m afraid we don’t have cheese water in Ritzy City – it’s mostly cakes.’

Tiga stared at the fairy. ‘Ritzy where?’

Riiiitzzzzzy Ciiiiity!’ Fran cheered, waving her hands in the air.

Tiga shrugged. ‘Never heard of it.’

‘But you’re a witch,’ said Fran.

‘I am not a witch!’ Tiga cried.

‘You SO are!’

‘I am not!’

‘Definitely are,’ said Fran, nodding her head. ‘Even your name says so.’

And with that she flicked her tiny finger, sending a burst of glittery dust sailing across the room.

TIGA WHICABIM, the dust read.

Then it began to wobble and rearrange itself into something new.

I AM A BIG WITCH.

‘You’ve cheated somehow,’ Tiga mumbled, moving the dust letters about in the air. Most people would’ve believed Fran by this point, but Tiga wasn’t used to magic and fun and insane fairies. So, despite this very convincing evidence that she might just be a witch, Tiga still walked towards the door. Towards the cheese water.

‘TIGA!’ bellowed Miss Heks. ‘YOUR CHEESE WATER HAS REACHED BOILING POINT.’

‘Cheese water,’ Fran chuckled. ‘Wait! Where are you going, Tiga?’

‘To eat dinner,’ said Tiga. ‘Bye, Fabulous Fairy Fran. It was lovely to meet you.’

Fran raised a hand in the air. ‘Wait! What? You’re not coming with me to Ritzy City, a place of wonder and absolutely no cheese?’

Tiga paused. Even if it was a mad dream, it was better than cheese water. She turned on her heel and walked back towards Fran.

Fran squealed and squeaked and did somersaults in the air.

‘WHAT’S GOING ON IN THERE? I KNOW YOU CAN HEAR ME, YOU LITTLE MAGGOT!’ Miss Heks shouted.

Tiga paused. Even if it was a mad dream, it was better than cheese water.

Tiga could see Miss Heks stomping her way towards the shed.

‘Quick!’ Fran cried. ‘We must go to Ritzy City right now!’

How?’ Tiga cried, frantically looking around the shed for an escape route.

‘Down the sink pipes, of course,’ Fran said as she shot through the air and straight down the plughole. ‘Come on, Tiga!’ her shrill little voice echoed from somewhere inside the sink.

Tiga leaned over the stone sink and stared down the plughole.

There was nothing down there. No light. And certainly no city, that was for sure.

The door to the shed flew open and splinters of old wood went soaring through the air.

‘WHAT IS GOING ON?’ Miss Heks bellowed.

‘NOW!’ Fran yelled.

Tiga wiggled a finger in the plughole.

This is nonsense, she thought, just as she disappeared.

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