Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

The Christmas Witch

The Christmas Witch

Steven Kellogg
Picture Book
For ages 4 to 6
Penguin, 2000   ISBN: 978-0140567625

Gloria is a little witch who has the misfortune of being a student at the Academy for Young Goblins and Witches. It is a misfortune because Gloria simply isn't much good at being a wicked witch. For one thing she smiles a lot, which infuriates Madame Pestilence, the headmistress of the school. She also has problems getting spells right. One evening when she is writing out lines Gloria overhears a little angel telling some elves a story about Christmas. Gloria is totally and utterly charmed by the tale and decides there and then that she is going to be a Christmas witch.

Poor Gloria soon finds out that being a Christmas witch is far from easy. Gloria is set the task of trying to get two groups of people, the polka-dotted Pepperwills, and the striped Valdoons, to stop fighting each other and to come together for a Christmas celebration. Her task is not made any easier when Madame Pestilence finds out what Gloria is doing. The wicked witch is determined that Gloria should not succeed and does all she can to sabotage Gloria's wonderful Christmas plans.

This warm and deliciously magical story manages to capture that singular feeling which makes Christmas so special. With a little help from her elfin friends, Gloria helps both groups of people to see that their feud is a terrible waste and that the time has come to make peace. Steven Kellogg combines his skill as an illustrator with his undoubted writing talents to create a story which will have younger readers wishing fervently that they too could be a Christmas witch or wizard.