Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

The Witches

The Witches

Roald Dahl
Illustrator:   Quentin Blake 
Fiction
For ages 8 to 11
Penguin, 2002   ISBN: 978-0141301105

Imagine how you would feel if you were to discover that there are evil children-hating witches living in the general population. These witches look just like any other woman except for the fact that they have claws for hands, they are bald, they have large "nose-holes," they have no toes on their feet, and their spit is blue. The problem is that witches are very good at hiding these features. If they wear wigs, gloves, and the right shoes they are practically unidentifiable.

Because of this the boy in this story does not realize that he is among a whole convention of witches until it is too late. He overhears their plans to turn every child in England into a mouse and then, alas, he is caught by the dreadful witches and is turned into a mouse himself. The grand thing is that the boy does not mind being a mouse that much, and with the help of his very special Norwegian grandmother he puts together a plan to foil the witch's evil plans.

In this deliciously horrid story Roald Dahl once again has created a cast of characters who capture the imagination and whose activities make it impossible to put the book down before the tale is complete. Young readers will love the magic, the disgustingness, and the fact that most of the grownups in the story are quite dreadful. There is no doubt that this story was created for the entertainment of children and that it will appeal to children on many levels.

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