RED Shack...Warning! SPOILERS! Don't read if you don't want to know the end.

This is my personal reading blog. Complete with spoilers. Currently reading: James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl and The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin

Monday, August 01, 2005

The Witches by Roald Dahl (illustrated by Quentin Blake)

Started 7/30, ended 8/1. Published by Penguin Books, American Edition, 1983

What a lovely little book. Towards the beginning I vaguely recalled a movie about this book, but by the halfway point I was completely into the book and couldn't even remember the movie. The Witches is a children's book about how a child and his Grandmother (neither of them are ever referred to by name) conquer a group of more than eighty witches, including the Grand High Witch of England.

The illustrations by Quentin Blake are very cute. I was prompted to read this book by my husband, and of course the movie "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" - the second take that just came out this year (I have yet to see it.) I also just received James and the Giant Peach in the mail today, but I'll save that for later.

This book shows the beauty of storytelling; it pretty much starts out with Grandmamma telling the little boy all about witches and how to spot them, and enthralled little boy hanging on every word. Then when they are vacationing in Bournemouth, the little boy accidentally is trapped in a room with the RSPCC members (Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children) - what a great name for the group of witches to hide under! He thinks for sure this is a safe place to be, so he trains his mice in there (what great foreshadowing! the first-person narrator has two mice of his own (named William and Mary) that he's training. hee hee! What a great scene, when the little boy is watching the witches and the Grand High Witch map out their plan with the "Formula 86 Delayed Action-Mousemaker. It is this formula which eventually leads the witches to their demise. Our little narrator, now turned into a mouse, pours the formula into the soup the witches are having at the hotel restaurant. Grandmamma is a wonderful character with her stinking black cigars and great love for her grandson, and vast understanding of witches.

What a great little book, and a super-fast read (for an adult, anyway).


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