Aspiring witch Claire Bundkin has been Melody Malady’s most devoted fan ever since the singing sensation was selling Sudsy Perfect Shampoo on TV. Since then, Melody’s gotten her own show, her own recordings, and now her own movie—which is being shot on location in Claire’s hometown, Philadelphia! When Claire gets a chance to meet Melody, she just about does a flip. And when Melody offers her a part in the movie, Claire knows her life is about to change forever. Claire’s twin sister, Luna, isn’t quite as excited about Claire’s shot at the big time. It can get pretty ugly when sisters disagree, but these twins can be downright dangerous since they’re witches-in-training. If they can’t get their feelings—and their magic—under control, the Bundkin girls could conjure up some serious trouble. This ebook features a personal history by Adele Griffin including rare images and never-before-seen documents from the author’s own collection.
About the Author
Adele Griffin (b. 1970) is a critically lauded author of children’s and young adult fiction. Born in Philadelphia, she began writing after college, when a job at a children’s publishing house introduced her to the world of young adult literature. She drew praise for her first novel, Rainy Season (1996), a heartfelt portrayal of a young American girl’s life in the Panama Canal Zone in the late 1970s. In books like Sons of Liberty (1997) and Amandine (2001), she continued to explore the sometimes harsh realities of family life, and become known for intuitive, honest, and realistic fiction. Over the past several years, Griffin has won a number of awards, including National Book Award nominations for Sons of Liberty (1997) and Where I Want to Be (2005). Her books are regularly cited on ALA Best and ALA Notable lists. A number of her novels, such as the four-book Witch Twins series, introduce an element of lighthearted fantasy. Griffin lives with her family in Brooklyn, New York.
Read an Excerpt
Witch Twins and Melody Malady
By Adele Griffin
OPEN ROAD INTEGRATED MEDIACopyright © 2003 Adele Griffin
All rights reserved.
"GRANDY'S BRING-YOUR-OWN-CREATIVE-DISH LABOR Day Picnic Blowout is so crowded this year," said Luna Bundkin to her identical twin sister, Claire.
"That's because our family is growing," Claire responded. She and Luna were each balancing a paper cup of spicy peppermint iced tea in one hand and a paper plate heavy with fried catfish, curried rice, mango salad, and a strawberry-frosted cupcake in the other as they looked for somewhere to sit.
A free spot was hard to find. There must have been more than one hundred people milling around their grandparents' lawn or walking through the garden or relaxing on the sagging wraparound porch. Everybody was eating and talking and enjoying the fresh Bramblewine country air.
"There." Claire pointed to a sunny stretch of grass near Grandy's tomato patch.
"No. There." Luna pointed to a cool patch of shade under a crooked elm. "I hate to squint and chew." And she began to pick and weave her way around cousins, neighbors, and Grandy's cackling pals, heading toward the elm tree.
Luna could be stubborn like that, but Claire did not mind. She bounded behind her sister. She didn't care where she ate.
"More family is nice, but that also means more weird recipes," Luna observed as they settled on the grass. "Did you see what Steve brought? Lobster mousse with truffles on top. It's extremely eww!" Steve was their mother's boyfriend. He was a chef at Aubergine, a Philadelphia restaurant so fancy that the waiters were often better dressed than the diners.
"On the other hand, Fluffy's triple-decker soybutter, marshmallow, and pickle sandwiches on pistachio bread are yummy," said Claire. "Fluffy said it's a simple way of combining her favorite foods. She's sure got a big appetite, now that she's eating for two."
Claire exchanged a smile with her twin. In four months' time, their dad and their new stepmother, Fluffy, were going to have a baby. That meant a new little half sister or half brother for Claire, Luna, and their older brother, Justin. And Claire had a secret hunch that the baby would be a girl. A girl named Ubiquitous, one of the prettiest words ever, Claire thought. Ubiquitous meant "to be everywhere at the same time"—a next-to-impossible five-star spell.
You could just hear the magic in the word.
"Oh, lovely baby Ubiquitous," Claire said out loud.
Luna frowned. "Clairsie, everyone agreed a long time ago. Ubiquitous is not a good baby name. It sounds like what you'd name a Roman gladiator."
"Does not, no returns."
"Yoo-hoo! Howdy, there!" Fluffy was standing over them. Her plate was filled with triple-decker soybutter, marshmallow, and pickle sandwiches. "May I sit with y'all?"
"Sure, Fluffy," they chorused.
Fluffy, who was from Houston, Texas, often used words such as gals and howdy. Claire and Luna agreed that while they liked their new stepmother, it had taken time to get used to her. Fluffy was so different from their real mother, Jill Bundkin, who was a no-nonsense medical doctor. Fluffy talked loud and dressed in superbright, sparkly clothes, but everyone knew that underneath she had "a heart of gold."
Today, Claire noticed that Fluffy really did have a heart of gold, in the shape of a large, gold, heart-shaped belt buckle.
"I actually came over to ask you gals an important question," said Fluffy as she eased herself to sit on the grass between the twins. "Have either of you heard of Melody Malady?"
"Melody Malady!" Claire jumped to her feet, spilling her plate of food. In the next moment, Grandy's raggedy-eared cat, Wilbur, appeared out of nowhere and gulped it down.
Oblivious, Claire began to dance and sing. "'A tune of my own, and a person to be! Who is this girl? She could be only me! Believe it! Achieve it! Find your own Mel-oh-dee!'" She threw her arms in the air. "'Forever me!'" Then she did a back flip.
Claire and Luna both loved-loved-loved The Melody Malady Show. It came on Friday nights at eight o'clock. In Claire's opinion, The Melody Malady Show was almost as good as her first-favorite television show, Galaxy Murk. Justin said no way. He said spaceships always beat singing.
"Yee-haw!" Fluffy applauded when Claire finished her back flip. Wilbur made a sour face. He was a witch cat and understood humanspeak, and he disliked The Melody Malady Show. Wilbur preferred Broadway musicals. (Being a country cat, he hardly ever got into New York City to see them.)
"You need voice lessons, Claire," said Luna, sticking her fingers in her ears. "Your singing is worse than mine."
Claire ignored her. "Why'd you ask about Melody Malady, Fluffy?"
"Because Melody is filming a movie called Double Delight in Philadelphia," Fluffy explained, "and my magazine is writing an article on it." Fluffy worked for the style section of a magazine called Philadelphia Now! Both Claire and Luna thought it was a glamorous job.
"A whole movie! Does Melody play a princess? Or a shoot 'em up cowgirl? Or a spy?" Claire was overjoyed that her favorite television star was on her way to movie stardom. "I knew Melody was destined for the big screen."
"As a matter of fact, Melody plays the double role of identical twin sisters, Jess and Bess," said Fluffy. "And I thought it might be some fun publicity if she got to shake hands with some real-live Philadelphia twins. So I volunteered to bring you two girls to the set. Well snap pictures for the magazine, and maybe you gals can watch some of the movie being made."
"We're going to meet Melody Malady? Wow!" Claire could not think of anything more exciting than looking into the olive-green, almond-shaped eyes of her favorite television personality.
Melody Malady had been a star forever. Before The Melody Malady Show, Melody was the girl in all the television commercials for everything Claire wanted. Melody was the Gogo Yogurt girl, the Sudsy Perfect Shampoo girl, and the Electric Wow Light-Up Jump Rope girl, just to name a few.
"Crumbs." Luna touched her hands to her hair. "I wish you hadn't cut my hair last week, Claire." It was a style the twins had seen in a magazine, and Claire had been sure she could copy it with her art scissors. The result was a clump of bristly short hair in the front and two clumps of scraggly long hair at the ears. "Melody will think I'm a dork."
"Aw, Luna, honey, it'll grow back," Fluffy reassured her.
Claire frowned. She thought she had done some creative and beautiful work on Luna's hair, but all anyone said about it was that it would grow back.
"When do we get to meet Melody?" Claire asked.
"How about this Friday?" asked Fluffy.
"Terrific!" Claire shouted. "Then, when we start school in two weeks, we'll be famous. Pictures of us in Philadelphia Now! next to the one, the great, the only Melody Malady! That's the awesomest way to begin sixth grade." She turned another flip from excitement.
Fluffy popped the end of her sandwich into her mouth, then stood and brushed the grass from her pants. "I'll go find your brother and invite him along, too. He'll probably be keen to see how movies get made. Glad you're excited about it! Bye, now, gals."
The twins watched as Fluffy went off in search of Justin.
"I wonder if Melody has her own hair-dresser?" Luna mused.
"She probably has her own beauty salon and her own maid and a butler and a Rolls-Royce and yacht and plane and a dressing room and an ice-cream parlor and everything," said Claire. "She's a star! And we're going to meet her!"
Luna slowly licked the pink frosting of her cupcake. "I read somewhere that in real life, movie stars are short with big heads, like Martians."
"No way. I bet Melody's got a perfect real-life head."
"Maybe she's spoiled and stuck-up."
"Luna, you are a doomsday prophet," said Claire. (That's what their mother always said about Luna.)
Her sister shrugged.
Claire would not let her twin get her down. She stretched out on her back and looked up into the elm tree's leafy canopy. This had been her most fantastic summer, ever. First she and Luna had spent five incredible weeks at Camp Bliss. Then came the news about baby Ubiquitous. And now she would get to meet her idol, Melody Malady.
Life did not get much better than this.CHAPTER 2
LUNA HAD A SECRET. The secret was that she was jealous of Melody Malady. The reason Luna was jealous was because she thought it was too-too-too extra-lucky for a girl her very own age to star in a weekly television show and have a perfect singing voice and olive-green, almond-shaped eyes.
Luna was not even sure if she wanted to meet Melody, but she would never confess this to her sister. All through dinner, Claire had been chattering on and on like a squirrel about her idol.
Claire did not seem the teeniest bit jealous, so Luna did not want to seem like a spoilsport.
"I raise you three Oaty-oats," Luna said, yawning.
It was almost midnight. Luna and Claire were sitting at their grandparents' kitchen table playing five-card poker. They were betting Oaty-oat cereal pieces instead of money. The picnic guests had gone home, but Luna and Claire always stayed at Bramblewine for the first weekend of each month. It was a happy tradition, not only because they loved-loved-loved to be in the country with their grandparents, but also because it was then that Grandy, who was also (very secretly) known as Head Witch Arianna of Bramblewine, taught the girls new spells.
Claire lifted one eyebrow. "I'll see your three Oaty-oats and call you."
Luna showed her cards. "I have a pair of sevens. What do you have?" She was pretty sure that Claire had nothing, because she had been biting on her thumb. Claire always bit her thumb when she bluffed. Claire was not very good at poker.
Claire put down her cards. She had nothing. "Um, I was bluffing. You win again."
"After singing lessons, Clairsie, you should take poker lessons," said Luna as she swept up the pot of oats.
The clock struck midnight. The twins' faces turned solemn, and they stood up from the table and pushed in their chairs. It was time for their spell lesson. Tonight, Grandy had made the rare promise that she would be teaching them something "outstanding."
As they climbed the spiral staircase to the study, Luna could hear Grampy snoring from his bedroom. His snores rose and fell in perfect zzz-zzz-zzzs. Grandy had probably put him under a sleep spell. Luna figured that her grandmother must have cast it so that Grampy would not wake up during their midnight lesson.
Silently, the girls entered Grandy's candlelit study. All the green velvet curtains were drawn. The door locked and bolted automatically behind them. Witchcraft is a mysterious practice, and No Telling is its first rule. Although Grandy was a five-star witch and Luna and Claire were one-star witches, nobody else in their family knew. It was extra-extra-extra secret.
Grandy was seated behind her desk, scribbling on a notepad. Wilbur was flung out across the back of her chair. He was wearing his special rhinestone collar and trying to look noble.
"Shhh. One minute while I finish this grocery list," said Grandy. She jotted on her paper. "Dust balls, furniture unpolish, glass smudger. I just noticed how tidy this room is! Blech! A genuine study needs to look neglected."
The twins stood in the middle of the room, waiting patiently. Their grandmother was not a woman to be hurried.
Finally, Grandy stood from her desk and swept to the middle of the room. Her dark witch-robe dragged behind her, and her shadow was so long it bent up into the ceiling.
"Hear this, witches mine. Tonight what you learn, you cannot return," Grandy intoned. Her face fell into its spell-casting expression, as she moved to stand between the twins. She raised her hands, palms-down.
Luna trembled slightly. On spell nights, Grandy seemed taller, bolder, and less grandmotherly than she did during daylight hours. Luna tried to look brave as Grandy began to chant:
"We stand before this sacred shrine, To learn a new spell quite divine.
Wipe your minds of thought and dream, Gather, garner, reap, and glean. Student witches, Wicca teacher, Transform to thine hidden creature!"
Then Grandy coughed three times into her hand. A pair of velvet curtains parted to reveal an altar, upon which sat two glass chalices, Grandy's Big Book of Shadows, a few odd jars of spices, and her crystal ashtray. The ashtray was not part of the magic. After a midnight spell, Grandy often liked to smoke a cigar.
On Grandy's signal, the twins followed as she glided to the altar.
"Eyes closed, mind open," Grandy commanded.
Luna closed her eyes. At her side, she wondered if Claire was peeking. She heard her grandmother cutting free some of the spices from their pots. She sniffed. Luna's sense of smell was terrible. She could detect only a whiff of spice mingling with something sweet.
Soon, the scent of spices was strong and made Luna's head whirl. In another moment, some rather odd changes began to brew inside her. First her skin got warm. Then her sense of hearing became needle sharp, even picking up the hum of Wilbur's purr and the zzz-zzz-zzz of Grampy's snores below. Finally, her legs seemed too weak to hold up her weight.
Luna dropped comfortably to all fours, her hands planting squarely on the carpet. All of this was confusing, but not nearly as odd as Luna's sudden urge to run and run and run and run! But she hated running! In fact, she hated any activity that got her sweaty. No, she was not feeling like herself one bit. If she didn't know any better, she could have sworn she had turned into—
Luna opened her eyes and stared down at her paws.
"Woof!" barked Luna. Her tail thumped the floor. When she turned her head, she saw a jewel-green salamander staring up at her. A salamander with ruby eyes and Claire's grouchy expression.
"Woof!" barked Luna happily. She'd turned into a way cooler animal than Claire!
Claire-the-salamander's forked tongue darted and she flicked her scaly tail. Luna wagged her floppy tail in return. She tried to feel what kind of dog she was. Part Border collie, she guessed, with maybe some Saint Bernard?
"Excellent, girls," said Grandy. When Luna looked over, she saw that her grandmother also had changed into an animal—an elegant red fox. Grandy the fox made Wilbur the cat look extra shabby.
Luna tried to ask what kind of dog she'd become, but all that came out of her mouth was another cheerful bark.
"Within every witch is the power to transform into a single creature from the animal kingdom," explained foxy Grandy. "The spell is one of the most powerful listed in the Book of Shadows. However, it's listed as a Samaritan Spell. That means it can only be used to help others, and not for your own fun. I guess that's why it's been thirty years since I bothered to be a fox. Now, twins, close your eyes and imagine that you are looking into a mirror. Concentrate."
Luna closed her eyes and pictured herself: brown eyes, six freckles on her nose, bad haircut, and even the little chicken pox scar under her chin.
In a heartbeat, she jumped onto two legs and was Luna-the-girl again.
"Grandy, that's the best spell yet!" she exclaimed. "Outstanding!"
"That's the worst spell ever!" Claire-the-girl sputtered at her side. "Luna gets to be a dog and I'm just a dumb lizard?"
"Salamander," Grandy corrected. "A witch transforms into the animal that best represents her human traits."
"I guess I really am a loyal and trusted companion," Luna noted.
"But I'm not slithery and cold-blooded!" Claire argued.
Grandy looked unconvinced. "If I were you, I'd read up on salamanders." She sniffed. "Interesting. It takes three spices—cumin, coriander, and cardamom—for you to transform, Claire. But not a single spice for you, Luna. That means that you, Claire, need to memorize the spell, but Luna, it's already here." She tapped her forehead. "Right in your head, in one-star memory files, for whenever you need it."
Now Grandy brushed her hands together and a cigar appeared between her fingers. "Oh, one other thing. If each of you can use this spell to help someone, you'll earn half of your second star."
"Just half?" faltered Luna.
"Everything gets harder as you get better," snapped Grandy. "That's life. But a one-point-five star sorceress is better than a single-starred simpleton."
At the twins' glum faces, Grandy added, "You'll get your spy globes, too. All one-and-a-halfsters do."
Luna exchanged a grin with her twin. Spy globes were cool.
"One last thing," mentioned Grandy as she set the cigar between her teeth. "A Samaritan Spell is about using individual smarts to benefit someone else. So you can't consult your twin when it's time to use the spell. Got it?"
The twins nodded. Got it.
"Good. Time for a smoke, then bed. Nightie-night, twinsies."
With that, Grandy winked one eye and wriggled the opposite ear, which was actually an easy, insta-port spell that jumped her straight from the study and into her bed, her teeth spell-brushed and her clothes spell-changed from satin robes to cotton pajamas.
"A salamander!" Claire shook her head in disbelief once Grandy was gone. "I'm only one up from a beetle or a centipede."
Excerpted from Witch Twins and Melody Malady by Adele Griffin. Copyright © 2003 Adele Griffin. Excerpted by permission of OPEN ROAD INTEGRATED MEDIA.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
Contents1. Double Delight,
2. Animal Magic,
3. "Don't Bore Us, Dolores!",
4. Four Point Six Billion,
5. Claire La Dare,
6. Sister Scrap Heap,
7. Salamander Eye Spy,
8. Timbugtu to the Rescue,
9. Wrap and Print,
Preview: Witch Twins and the Ghost of Glenn Bly,
A Biography of Adele Griffin,