Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

The Salem Witch Trials

The Salem Witch Trials

Michael Martin
Illustrator:  Brian Bascle 
Nonfiction Graphic Novel  Series
For ages 8 to 10
Capstone Press, 2005   ISBN: 978-0736838474

It all began when two girls, Betty Parris and Abigail Williams, started to behave strangely. Their behavior greatly upset the god-fearing puritans who lived in their village of Salem. So much so that the people began to think that the girls were being influenced by evil powers. Two more girls joined Betty and Abigail in their mysterious sickness and then the girls accused several women in the village of being witches. These accusations were taken very seriously and the accused women were forced to stand trial for their crimes.

As so often happens when panic and hysteria are allowed to run wild, the situation escalated and soon fingers were being pointed at all kinds of people, including men and women who were solid and respected members of the church. People were thrown in prison and then, the hangings began.

This account of a strange and frightening time in American history is well told and it gives the reader a sense of how difficult life was at this time, when superstition and rumors could decide whether a person lived or died. At the back of the book the author has included further information about the Salem witch trials including a list of theories which have been offered up to explain the strange behavior of the girls who accused so many people of the crime of witchcraft. Presented in a comic book style, this is the perfect book for children who think that history is a dull and boring subject.

This is one of the titles in the "Graphic Library" series.