Title: Delores Fletcher, Cobweb Catcher
Author: Kathryn Rose Jacoby
Publication Date: July 31, 2012
Number of pages: 127
Recommended age: 7 to 12
Reviewed by: Renee (Mother)
Giant spiders are nesting in people’s homes and sixteen-year-old Delores Fletcher is now the town’s official Cobweb Catcher – and alone. She’s alienated any friends she might have had at flight school and now turns to the unlikely help of an outcast ghost and the spirit of her great-great-great-grandmother Mabel Verity Fletcher, the most notorious Cobweb Catcher in history. But, life for a Cobweb Catcher can be difficult and things aren’t always what they seem. Magical powers alone are not enough, especially when Delores’ success means unbalancing the ecology of her town.
My Thoughts: Kathryn Jacoby wastes no time diving into the wacky adventures of the slightly awkward, newly graduated 16 year-old witch, Delores Fletcher. In the tradition of the Fletchers who came before her, Delores takes over the town’s Cobweb Catcher position from her Aunt Rita, who has raised her; but, little does she know that her Aunt has been keeping a family secret that will change how Delores can do her job.
Delores Fletcher, Cobweb Catcher features a likeable main character in Delores who is bullied by her peers, but bravely takes on her responsibilities as the town’s Cobweb Catcher when her Aunt suddenly retires to Florida (lol). She befriends two quirky characters in a not-so-scary ghost, Geoffrey Collins McDuff, and her notorious great-great-great-grandmother Mabel Verity Fletcher, the original Cobweb Catcher. Then, there are the giant spiders (Argie and Maude) who are not quite what you would expect. All in all, the cast of characters is well-rounded and each is unique and interesting. In particular, I felt that Delores’ personal growth from the time she graduates at the beginning of the book to the time she becomes the town Pestologist was well done.
While it is a relatively subtle message, (given the action that is packed into the overall story), I thought that the discussion of ecological balance (i.e., we need spiders) was an important one. It turns out that Delores is an excellent cobweb catcher. She successfully “relocates” the giant spiders who make messy cobwebs all over town to an uninhabited island but it ends up upsetting the balance of nature. So imagine … what would happen if there were no spiders?! Uh-huh … problem, right? Leave it to clever Delores (and her predecessors) to come up with the solution!
I really appreciated the detail the author provides to immerse the reader into the “witch” culture. For example, this involved descriptions of green toad milk with warts floating on top, clever talking mirrors, a great detailed description of how to make a broomstick, lots of magic, and many other “witchy” moments. It was very entertaining to read all about this unusual and imaginative world.
My bottom line: Delores Fletcher, Cobweb Catcher is a fun, middle grade romp exploring the world of witches through the eyes of a sympathetic main character, Delores, whom we meet when she embarks on her role as the town’s Cobweb Catcher. The book features a supporting cast of quirky characters; entertaining descriptions of the interactions among the witches, spiders, and ghosts in the story; and an overall message about the importance of ecological balance in nature. I think tween girls in particular would love reading about the world Delores lives in and I would recommend this book to children aged 7 to 12.
** Giveaway **
The author of Delores Fletcher, Cobweb Catcher, Kathryn Rose Jacoby is pleased to be hosting a giveaway for a classroom or library set of 10 copies of the book. The giveaway is open Internationally.
*** This book was obtained from Amazon on a FREE DAY. All opinions expressed are my own. The author has also opted to purchase an ad in our sidebar for 30 days. ***