Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Witch's Broom

Witch's Broom

Ruth Chew
For ages 7 to 9
Random House Books for Young Readers, 2015   ISBN: 978-0449815786

The whole peculiar business begins when Amy’s mother finds a brand new looking blue broom in her front yard. As her own broom is rather old, Amy’s mother is happy with her new find, but it turns out that the broom is not very good at sweeping, which is rather strange.

After Amy’s parents go to work her friend Jean comes over. The girls decide to refill the empty birdfeeder in the yard. When a blue jay lands in one of the trees, Jean tries to scare it off using the new broom. Amy’s mother does not like blue jays because they are thieves. Instead of flying away, the blue jay flies straight at Jean. Before Jean quite knows what is happening the blue broom as pulled her into the safety of the house. Jean is convinced that the broom actually flew through the air, pulling her along with it.

Amy wonders if perhaps she can ride on the broom and she tries this. The broom does indeed fly around the room, but it does so in such an erratic way that it looks as if Amy is “a cowboy on a bucking bronco.” The girls figure out that the broom has a personality. It is female and likes to be ridden with its bristles facing forward, which is certainly unusual.

The girls decide to have a picnic lunch and after they are settled outdoors with their sandwiches, fruit, and cups of milk, the blue jay turns up. The girls share their lunch with the bird, which behaves in a very odd manner. It holds its food in a claw to eat it and drinks from a cup like a person.

That night Amy and the broom take a ride. The broom carries Amy to the mountains and into a cave where Amy witnesses a gathering of witches. When roll call takes place Amy finds out that a witch called Beryl is missing. The broom starts to get very agitated and manages to convey to Amy that it wants her to pretend to be Beryl, which Amy does, though she has no idea why she does it. The whole situation is very peculiar indeed.

Many people find the idea of flying around on a broomstick deliciously attractive. In this book they will encounter a broom that can fly, and that also happens to have an attitude. The broom does not like being used for sweeping, and it likes to fly bristles first, which everyone knows is a backwards way of doing things. There is something incredibly appealing about this broom which, as it turns out, goes out of its way to help someone who is in a great deal of trouble.

Children who are drawn to stories about magic are going to thoroughly enjoy this chapter book. In the story magic, a willful broom, and a mystery are brought together to great effect.