Pros: Intriguing story, fun, funny, nice illustrations
Cons: May frighten young children
Witches have been part of our every day lives for years and years now ever since the book The Wizard of Oz came out in the 1940s with the Wicked Witch Of The West and now the mainstream audiences have been loving witches since The Blair Witch Project came out in the 1999, but do people even remember Roald Dahls beloved book, The Witches published in 㥡? Well, most people do, but most people dont, so thats why Im here to write a review on his esteemed, masterpiece of a childrens fairy tale, The Witches.
I have been a Roald Dahl fan since my younger days when my aunt sent me James In The Giant Peach, which was the first chapter book I ever read. Since then I have come to read all of the books that he has written, but none other has remained my favorite (or one that Ive read as many times) as The Witches. Roald Dahl, born in the 1910s, always loved children so he decided he would be an author after he came home from the war. Since the 1960s he has crept into childrens bookshelves with fantastic classics such as Charlie and The Chocolate Factory, Fantastic Mr. Fox, Matilda, and The BFG.
The Witches begins with a boy who lives with his Grandmamma ever since his parents died in a fatal car accident. His Grandma tells him something that just frightens him that just makes him terrified. She tells him about witches. She told him how to identify a witch if you ever saw one and how their behavior is she also told him how much they hated children because of their smell and annoyance. Shortly after she tells him about Witches, she gets a message that she and the boy need to move back to England (where the boy and his parents originally lived before he moved to live with his Grandma, whose house is based in Norway) and that he inherited his parents house.
After they get all settled down at the house, though, the boys Grandmother gets ill and the doctor advises them to go to a hotel on the coast because the sea air might help her recuperate. In the hotel he gets some mice, which he wants to train because he loves the little creatures so he wanders into a big meeting room reserved for an organization against child cruelty.
Shortly after he comes into the big room, he realizes that people are coming through the door so he quickly ducks behind a privacy curtain (it was called something else, but I forgot the name of it). The room is full of ladies and they bolt the doors shut and pull chains over the door handles. He was trapped. They all settle down into their seats and head into a large group conversation that just horrifies the boy. The ladies are really witches and they want to rid the world of children with a special potion that the Grand High Witch herself concocted. The plan is for the witches of England to start a sweet shop and sell poisoned chocolate to little kids, but it doesnt poison them in the sense that you might mean. It actually turns them all into mice!
The boy gets even more scared than he already was and is afraid that the witches will smell his stench, but then he remembered something that his Grandma told him about not taking baths and that if you didnt all the dirt that formed on your body would block all of your smells that made witches sick. After the meeting is adjourned (when a test child had been turned into a mouse) and all the witches are about ready to leave, the little boy feels as if he is home freebut a witch smells him and hes found and turned into a mouse.
Will The Boy-With-No-Name Become Human Again?
How Will He Stop The Witches Evil Plan?
Odds And Ends
Roald Dahl creates a magnificent world of wonder and adventure with The Witches. Instead of building on what people have said about witches in the past, he deletes that formula and starts his own witch creation from scratch explaining that witches are actually bald with no toes and claws for fingers. The main character of the little kid is a good one and Im positive that many young readers might identify with his situationweird kids might. The story is easy enough for a small child to read it or a teacher to read it to the class and if you are a parent you can read The Witches with your child, because I guarantee that they will love it. The only main problem with the book is that it might scare little kids because of all the talk about witches and turning little kids into mice. But besides that, the story is easy to read with no real big words, wonderfully written without any boring spots or anything, and I am positive that if you unleash The Witches onto your child it will make your kid interested in reading because it helped me become a good reader as I am today. Quentin Blake does all of the illustrating for the book and he remains great at what he does. Having had a really good friendship with Roald Dahl and drawing art for most of the writers books, he knows exactly what Dahl wants and really shapes out the story and gives you a better idea of what Dahls world is like. He does a great job and doing a great job in childrens books is no small feat for illustrators.
In closing, I would just like to say that The Witches is a modern masterpiece and if you or your child hasnt read it yet then you should get on top of it because its a glorious read that is simple to love. Im sure that I will read this story to my child when I have one because although it may be a little long for a childrens book (200 some pages), I guarantee your kid will love it since its so likable. Even with Dahls death in 1990, his books live on through the hearts of all of his many fans and The Witches is his most fabulous book since The Magic Finger. Buy this book and enjoy it.