The Misadventures of Salem Hyde: Spelling Trouble
by Frank Cammuso
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Daily Crosshatch interview with Frank Cammuso:
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SLJ Interview with Frank Cammuso (2:51):
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Let’s Get Busy Podcast interview with Frank Cammuso (39:31):
Fanboy Planet interview with Frank Cammuso:
CRB interview with Frank Cammuso:
Zoey interviews Frank Cammuso (3:07):
If you could have any animal as an animal companion which would you choose and why?
A homophone is where words have the same pronunciation but different spellings and different meanings. These get Salem into trouble. Make a list of homophones and discuss their meanings.
Have a spelling bee with homophones.
Salem is pretty much dared into competing in the spelling bee. If someone dared you to do something would you take the dare or walk away? Why? What type of dare would you take and what kind would you never do?
Salem doesn’t learn spells. She makes them up. Make up some spells. Remember that the meaning of every word is important.
Salem lists 4 things she likes and 4 things she dislikes. Make your own list of 4 things you like and 4 things you dislike on an index card. Do not put your name on it. Put the lists in a box and have them read aloud. Try to guess who’s list it is.
A variation of the above activity is to put your likes and dislikes on a sheet of paper and go around the room finding people who have one of the same one’s you do and have them sign their name to your sheet by that like or dislike.
Salem lists her magic powers. What one magic power would you like to have and why? When would you use it?
Salem has a hard time not using magic at school If you had magic powers would you have a hard time not using them at school? Explain.
Whammy says, “I’m in the restaurant business’. And ‘I’m really cleaning up’. If you heard someone say these 2 sentences. What would you automatically think they mean and are they true for Whammy or is he being misleading? If Whammy is being misleading what are his reasons? What reasons do people give for misrepresenting themselves? Have you ever done this? Do you think everyone has?
Whammy says, ‘I’ll give it a shot’. What does this mean? What is the literal meaning? Do you think comments like this make it hard for people to learn English? Explain.
Whammy says, ‘But if the child refuses to learn there is only so much I can do. Is this statement true for students in classrooms today? Explain.
Salem’s parents are not magical. What would you do if you were normal and found you had a magical child? Explain.
Salem has a hard time understanding the W.H.A.T. test because it is a play on words. Watch Who’s on First by Abbott and Costello
Who’s On First (8:03):
Perform Who’s On First using the script below.
Write your own routine filled with ‘play on words’. Perform it.
Salem uses a vacuum cleaner instead of a broom. What other items does a witch have that are outdated and what would you change them to?
Whammy says, ‘When you chase something it runs away be patient and it will come to you.’ What does this mean? Give examples.
Whammy says spellcasting and spelling are very similar. One letter out of place can change the whole meaning. Sit in a circle. Have one person start with a 3 letter word. Have the next person change one letter to change the word. Go around the circle with each person changing the new word into a different word. You may not duplicate words, You may add a letter, change a letter or omit a letter so the end word may not have the same number of letters in it. See how many times you can go around the circle.
Whammy says, ‘It’s like I said. I’m stuck in a tight situation’. Whammy is actually stuck in a mailbox. When we hear ‘stuck in a tight situation’ what comes to mind? Discuss the difference in literal and figurative speech.
Salem says,’so every letter is important’ and Whammy says, ‘Some more than others’. Are they talking about the same thing? Explain.
Salem says to Whammy, ‘You’re talking to the queen of impulsive’. What is impulsive? Have you ever acted impulsively? Is it always a bad thing? Explain.
The principal says to Mr. Fink, ‘I’ll see you in my office on Monday’. Is there more than one meaning here. If the principal told you he’d see you in his office on Monday what would be going through your mind and why?
When Salem and Whammy have a bad landing from a flight Salem says, ‘That’s how I roll’. What does that mean?
Salem confuses words that sound the same. The consequences of her mistakes are humorously illustrated. Make a list of homophones and illustrate them. Write a story to go with your illustrations.
All about homophones including lists:
BOOK TALK TEASERS
Perform the readers theater.
Read the back cover.
Genre ‘Fantasy comic books, strips, etc.’ and the subjects ‘Spells (Magic)’, ‘Witches’, and ‘Magic’:
Naifeh, Ted. Courtney Crumrin. Courtney and her parents move in with her rich uncle and she finds herself meeting many strange creatures in the huge Victorian mansion. (NoveList)
Cosby, Nate. Jim Henson’s the storyteller. The much-loved, live-action/puppet combination TV show is now a graphic novel series! Archaia and The Jim Henson Company are proud to present ALL-NEW tales of fantastic wonder and extraordinary myth, as told from the tongue of The Storyteller and his loyal canine companion! Plus: A never-before-seen story adapted from a screenplay by The Storyteller’s original author, Academy Award Winner Anthony Minghella (The English Patient)!–Publisher. (NoveList)
Genre ‘Fantasy comic books, strips, etc.’ and the subjects ‘Child witches’ and ‘Magic’:
Lenhard, Elizabeth.. W.i.t.c.h. : Meridian magic. Five friends who are guardians of the Veil, the boundary that separates good from evil, have adventures to save the earth from evil forces. (NoveList)
Genre ‘Fantasy comic books, strips, etc.’ and the subjects ‘Child witches’, ‘Witches’, and ‘Magic’:
Cammuso, Frank. The misadventures of Salem Hyde. 2, Big birthday bash. Loving to fly despite her nervous cat’s apprehensions, impulsive young witch Salem Hyde looks forward to an upcoming birthday party that is challenged by spells gone awry. (NoveList)
Thompson, Jill. Magic Trixie. Magic Trixie looks for some special magic to bring in to show-and-tell to impress her friends, but her family keeps telling her that she is too young to use any of their magic, while her baby sister gets away with everything. (NoveList)
Gilson. Love potions. Melusine, a sorcerer’s apprentice, is learning how to become a witch, but her potions and spells don’t work as she intends them to, leading to many humorous episodes with ghosts, monsters, and other supernatural characters. (NoveList)
Funny, Attention-grabbing, and Fast-paced, and the genres ‘Graphic novels’ and ‘Humorous comic books, strips, etc.’; the subjects ‘New students’ and ‘Friendship’; and have illustrations that are ‘Cartoony’:
Gownley, Jimmy. The whole world’s crazy. After moving in with her Aunt Tanner after her parents’ divorce, Amelia tries to fit in at a new school. (NoveList)
Funny, Silly, and Attention-grabbing, and the genre ‘Graphic novels’; the subject ‘Boys’; and have illustrations that are ‘Cartoony’:
Shiga, Jason. Meanwhile. In this choose-your-own adventure graphic novel, a boy stumbles on the laboratory of a mad scientist who asks him to choose between testing a mind-reading device, a time machine, and a doomsday machine. (NoveList)
Funny, Silly, and Attention-grabbing, and the genre ‘Graphic novels’; the subject ‘Girls’; and have illustrations that are ‘Cartoony’:
Guibert, Emmanuel. Ariol. 1, Just a donkey like you and me. Ariol is an everyday tween donkey with blue glasses who lives in the suburbs with his mom and dad, as well as a host of other animal friends and teachers. (NoveList)
Funny and Witty, and the genres ‘Graphic novels’ and ‘Humorous comic books, strips, etc.’ and the subject ‘Boys’:
Peirce, Lincoln. Big Nate: genius mode. Nate Wright decides he can stop studying and completing his homework in sixth grade and then switch to “genius mode” in high school when grades really matter. (NoveList)
Attention-grabbing, and the genre ‘Graphic novels’ and the subjects ‘Boys’ and ‘Friendship’:
Tan, Shaun. Rules of summer. Two boys explain the occasionally mysterious “rules” they learned over the summer, like never eat the last olive at a party, never ruin a perfect plan, and never give your keys to a stranger. (NoveList)
Funny, Attention-grabbing, and Fast-paced, and the genre ‘Graphic novels’ and the subject ‘Girls’:
Holm, Jennifer L. Babymouse. 10, Babymouse the musical. As tryouts for the school musical begin, Babymouse takes the starring role in several imaginary Broadway productions, which also feature her debonair new classmate, Henry the hedgehog. (NoveList)
Attention-grabbing, and the genre ‘Graphic novels’ and the subject ‘Boys’:
Loux, Matthew. Salt water taffy: the legend of Old Salty. When Jack Putnam and his younger brother Benny are forced to spend the summer with their parents in a small Maine town called Chowder Bay, they discover that life in the country is not as boring as they originally thought. (NoveList)
Funny and Silly, and the genre ‘Graphic novels’ and the subjects ‘Boys’ and ‘Friendship’:
Roman, Dave. Astronaut Academy. 1, Zero Gravity. Hakata Soy looks to make a new start at Astronaut Academy, but his past as the leader of a futuristic superhero team catches up to him when a robot doppelganger is sent to kill him. (NoveList)
Roman, Dave. Comics Squad: recess! “A collection of comics about every kid’s favorite school subject: recess”– Provided by publisher. (NoveList)
Attention-grabbing and Fast-paced, and the genre ‘Graphic novels’ and the subjects ‘Boys’ and ‘Girls’:
Russell, P. Craig. The graveyard book graphic novel. 1. A first volume in a two-part graphic novel adaptation of the Newbery Medal-winning tale features sumptuous illustrations by leading genre artists and follows the adventures of Bod, who is being raised by ghosts while avoiding the man who killed his family. (NoveList)
School adventure, drama, and humor these goofy, attention-grabbing graphic novel:
Krosoczka, Jarrett. Lunch Lady and the cyborg substitute. As if slinging hash in the school cafeteria isn’t exciting enough, Lunch Lady has a secret life as a crime-fighting superhero! And she’s noticed that something about the new substitute teacher, Mr. Pasteur, just doesn’t seem right. But while Lunch Lady is busy investigating Mr. Pasteur, students Hector, Terrence, and Dee are investigating her. — Description by Ellen Foreman. (NoveList)
Funny, Silly, and Attention-grabbing, and the genre ‘Humorous comic books, strips, etc.’ and the subject ‘Girls and cats’:
Abouet, Marguerite. Akissi: feline invasion. Poor Akissi! The neighborhood cats are pursuing her to steal her fish, her little monkey Boubou almost ends up in a frying pan, and she’s nothing but a pest to her older brother Fofana, but Akissi is a true adventurer, full of silliness and fun, and nothing will scare her for long! (NoveList)
Funny, Silly, and Attention-grabbing, and the genre ‘Humorous comic books, strips, etc.’; the subject ‘Birthday presents’; and have illustrations that are ‘Cartoony’:
Townsend, Michael (Michael Jay). Kit Feeny: the ugly necklace. Wanting nothing less than to find the most special present for his mother’s upcoming birthday, Kit Feeny heads out on a wild search and, despite seeing many cool things along the way, successfully locates the most unique (and ugly) gift of all. (NoveList)
Action-packed, fast-paced, funny, silly, suspenseful and attention-grabbing:
Guibert, Emmanuel. Sardine in outer space. 1. Sardine and her uncle, Captain Yellow Shoulder, sail their ship, The Huckleberry, across the universe meeting up with monsters and aliens in order to confront Supermuscleman, who is trying to take over the galaxy. (NoveList)
The Misadventures of Salem Hyde, v.1: Spelling Trouble.
Cammuso, Frank (author). Illustrated by Frank Cammuso. Oct. 2013. 96p. Abrams/Amulet, hardcover, $14.95 (9781419708039); Abrams/Amulet, paperback, $6.95 (9781419708046). Grades 3-5. 741.5.
REVIEW. First published November 15, 2013 (Booklist).
Young witch Salem Hyde wants to win the spelling bee and be crowned the spelling queen, but when she accidentally turns the school’s crossing guard into a dinosaur, she know she needs help with her spells (and, coincidentally, her spelling). Enter Percival J. Whamsford III, a cat who has helped many witches over the past 800 years, and he still has five lives left. But Salem is a challenge: she flies on a vacuum cleaner, she’s impatient and impulsive, and she gets her spells just wrong enough to cause big havoc. For instance, when Salem casts a spell to win the school spelling bee, misspelled words come to life, turning the teacher whose “constant lecturing made him a bore” into a garbage-munching boar. Can Whammy help Salem put things back to normal before Mr. Fink gets her expelled? And can Salem learn to be a great witch after all? Young readers will eat up Cammuso’s (Otto’s Orange Day, 2008) action-packed panels, full of cartoonish antics, silly puns, and playful slapstick humor.
— Kat Kan
Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books:
Cammuso, Frank. The Misadventures of Salem Hyde: Book One: Spelling Trouble. November 2013
Trade ed. ISBN 978-1-4197-0803-9
Paper ed. ISBN 978-1-4197-0804-6
In the opening pages of this graphic-novel-styled easy reader, young witch Salem Hyde accidentally turns a crossing guard into a dinosaur, unleashing terror at her school and almost blowing her cover as a normal (albeit mischievous) girl. The incident spurs her grandmother to get Salem an animal companion to guide the young girl’s budding magical powers and keep her propensity for troublemaking in check. Percival J. Whamsford III, aka Whammy, shows up for the job, and while the smart-aleck cat isn’t the unicorn Salem requested, he still manages to save the day when Salem’s spellcasting yet again goes awry at her school’s annual spelling bee. Cammuso evokes both the sarcastic spunk and gentle warmth of Calvin and Hobbes in this humorous tale of unlikely pals, and the simple black and white illustrations reaffirm the parallel with their wide-eyed, big-headed figures and frantic energy. A few of the jokes may fly over the heads of young readers (a play on Moby-Dick is more likely to get chuckles from adults than developing readers), but the sequential paneling and spare dialogue in word bubbles offer a solid framework for young readers just discovering the graphic format.
School Library Journal:
CAMMUSO, Frank. The Misadventures of Salem Hyde: Spelling Trouble. Bk. 1. illus. by Frank Cammuso. 96p. (The Misadventures of Salem Hyde Series). Abrams/Amulet. 2013. Tr $14.95. ISBN 978-1-4197-0803-9; pap. $6.95. ISBN 978-1-4197-0804-6.
Gr 2-5–It’s hard enough navigating elementary school, but for Salem Hyde she has to do so while keeping her magical skills in check in Cammuso’s (Knights of the Lunch Table, 2008) charming new graphic novel series. After Salem confuses the upcoming spelling contest with spell casting and accidentally turns the crossing guard, Mrs. Fossil, into a dinosaur, her non-magical parents enlist the help of a magical companion to assist Salem. Percival J. Whamsford III, or “Whammy” as Salem likes to call him, is a cat who has 800 years’ experience teaching young witches to use their powers. Salem’s impulsive antics (flying a vacuum cleaner instead of a broom and having a whale materialize in the gymnasium when “wail” is misspelled during the contest) frustrate Whammy, but ultimately the two come together to make things right and form a strong friendship. Cammuso’s play on words are simple enough for new readers to understand and sophisticated enough to entertain those with more advanced skills. A memorable scene about a “WHAT Witch” test that is reminiscent of Abbot and Costello’s “Who’s on First” routine. The characters are drawn with big smiles and wide eyes, invoking classic comic imagery, while the mostly black-and-white illustrations are infused with shades of pale green. Fans who like their Sunday cartoons with longer plots and hysterical antics will clamor for the next adventure in this creative series. Move over Babymouse–there’s a clever new character in the graphic novel section.–Kristine M. Casper, Huntington Public Library, NY