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*****= An all-time favorite
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***The Witch Family

by Eleanor Estes

Reviewed September 15, 2003.
Harcourt, Brace & World, New York, 1960.  186 pages.
Available in paperback on for $6.
Available at Ramstein Library (JF EST).

My friend Leah found this old classic at Ramstein Library and had me read it before we sent it back to them.  Thanks again, Leah!

This is an old-fashioned book, with lots of authorial comments.  I don’t know if modern kids will like it as much, but I found it charming, like a story I might have read when I was a kid.

Amy and Clarissa like to draw pictures of witches.  One day, Amy decides to banquish Old Witch to a barren glass hill.  She must always be good, or she won’t be allowed down for Halloween.  The story comes from Amy’s imagination, but we see all the things happening as she describes them.  Eventually, Old Witch is joined by a Little Witch Girl and a Weeny Witchie baby.  And Amy and Clarissa even get to visit.

At first the authorial voice made me feel that she was talking down to the children, but as I read on, I decided that, no, she was giving children’s imaginations the respect they deserve.  It works on two levels.  A child reading the book might take it at face value that the stories Amy told really happened.  As an adult reading it, I can enjoy the way the author shows us this is all Amy’s imagination.  A delightful story.

Copyright © 2003 Sondra Eklund.  All rights reserved.

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