Lisa didn’t want to spend the summer in the country with her aunt. With no friends and no TV, Lisa thinks she will be lonely and bored. When Lisa finds an orange kitten in her aunt’s barn, she’s surprised when the kitten talks to her! The kitten, named Flame, is really a lion prince in disguise. Prince Flame is hiding from his uncle, who wants to kill him. Lisa promises to help Prince Flame stay safe.
But Prince Flame isn’t Lisa’s only friend. While riding her bike, Lisa meets John, a boy about her age. Someone has accused John’s father of poaching. Late one night, Lisa and John sneak out in the middle of the night to try to find the real poachers and get evidence that proves John’s father is innocent. With Prince Flame’s magical help, Lisa is able to help John.
A Summer Spell has several fun scenes that will make readers wish they had their own magical cat. Prince Flame not only helps Lisa with the dishes, but he also makes her invisible. Even though the story revolves around Prince Flame’s magic, the story has some darker events. Not only are bad men poaching, but the men frame John’s father, who is put in jail. The story hints that John’s father is targeted because he is a gypsy. Not only that, but Lisa sneaks out of the house in the middle of the night to go find the poachers, even though she knows that they have guns. Without Prince Flame’s help, Lisa and John would most likely be dead.
Lisa is a relatable character who wants to help her friends. However, at first she is disrespectful to her aunt. And even after she promises not to go anywhere without permission, she sneaks away several times. Despite this, readers will enjoy the plot’s action and Flame’s magic. Black and white drawings appear every three to seven pages. Even though A Summer Spell has some negative aspects, the story will engage readers and have them reaching for the next book in the series, Classroom Chaos. Cat lovers should also put the Purrmaids Series by Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen on their must-read list.
- While riding a bike, Lisa runs into a pony. “Lisa’s bike screeched along the road into the pony. The brakes locked up and she was launched into the air.” With a little magic, “she landed softly onto what felt like a very soft pillow.”
- When Lisa’s friends is in danger, Prince Flame turns her into a lion so she can rescue them. As a lion, Lisa “rushed up behind the first man and slammed into the back of his legs. In a swift movement, Lisa changed directions and launched herself at another man. . . She tripped up the third man, who fell over in a jumble of arms and legs.”
- While looking for evidence, Flame turns Lisa into a lion. Lisa, “caught the smell of death. Two deer lay in the back of the van.”
Drugs and Alcohol
- Prince Flame’s uncle wants to kill him and take the throne for himself, so Prince Flame needs to hide. “A flash of bright white light crossed the sky. A shower of silver sparkles fell upon a young white lion. Before the lion had a chance to blink, it was magically changed into a tiny, fluffy, orange kitten.”
- Prince Flame helps Lisa with the dishes. “Flame leaped up into the air like a silver fireball and landed on the draining board. Sparks crackled from the tips of his ears. He waved his front paws, and plates, spoons, forks, knives, and pans all dunked themselves in the suds.” With a little magic, the dishes wash, dry and put themselves away.
- When Lisa forgets to buy groceries, Flame “meowed and twitched his whiskers. Lisa saw that huge silver sparks were popping in the air around him. The familiar warmth pricked down her spine.” When Lisa goes outside, “the bike’s basket was crammed with food.” Later Flame says he magically got the food from the grocery store. In order to pay for the purchases, Lisa puts money in an envelope with a note explaining what happened.
- Several times, Prince Flame uses magic to make Lisa invisible.