(review originally published November 2014, books purchased by the reviewer)
I reviewed A Witch’s Primer, Grade 1, a while back. I mentioned then, and still believe with these two books, that while Ms. Manderly set out to create a text appropriate to teach religion in a Pagan parochial school, and I think these fail at that.
Each of these books has the same chapters as the first book. Each goes into a little more detail (and by little, I do mean a little – each chapter takes up about one screen on my tablet, which I use as an ebook reader). The chapters are very scattered, and again have a wide range of experience expected within a single book – Grade 3, for instance, suggests reading books on soul retrieval – which I’m not sure is a topic appropriate for even middle school aged readers. Information on herbs is provided, but not enough to be really safe (and often on herbs that are not appropriate for children.
I think one of my other big concerns with these two books is the sort of loose grasp on facts that seems pervasive. The Grade 3 chapter on the “History of Magick” is entirely comprised of a Cliff Notes version of the Salem Witch Trials. The introduction to Grade 2 says, “Witches were around in the very beginning (and by this I mean actual prehistoric times, as early as 2000 BC).”
For the first book, I thought that there was salvageable information, if carefully read and edited before sharing with children. I think that all three books together still don’t give a complete picture on some topics, and recommend things that are really not appropriate for children in most cases. So, again, proceed with caution here, and fact check with other sources before just handing these over to your kids.