This is a dark-edged children's tale about a group of witches who despise children who they believe smell like "dogs droppings". These witches don't hold back their hatred for these "small piles of filth" and at their annual meeting they devise a plan to rid the earth of these vomit inducing creatures by turning them into mice and exterminating them. What they haven't planned on is the ingenuity of one brave little boy who overhears their dastardly plans and does his best to thwart them.
This book is a lot of fun and though it portrays witches in a pretty bad light it's not all anti-woman and is all in good fun. Grandmamma is a fantastic character, described as a "tough old bird", she smokes cigars and I can't help but think it's her influence alone that has made the hero of this tale such a brave, clever little guy.
Earlier this year I wen on a Roald Dahl kick, and re-read many in his collection. The witches was one of my favrorites, partially because it was longer so it could have more thorough characters and a longer plot line. It's a cute story, and one that I think children would like - what's more exciting than witches, and being turned into mice?
i've loved the movie since it was released years ago, so i thought i'd read the book and see how they compare. what a great book! the movie did a good job of following the book -- i'd say the book is only marginally better, because there are more details than there are in the movie.
i'm so glad i finally got to read this... and it's on the banned books list, so it counted for my 10 banned books this year.
This is not a fairy tale.
This is about REAL witches.
Grandmamma loves to tell about witches. Real witches are the most dangerous of all living creatures on earth. There's nothing they hate so much as children, and they work all kinds of terrifying spells to get rid of them. Her grandson listens closely to Grandmamma's stories-but nothing can prepare him for the day he comes face to face with The Grand High Witch herself!
Grandmamma loves to tell about witches. Real witches are the most dangerous of all living creatures on earth. There's nothing they hate so much as children, and they work all kinds of terrifying spells to get rid of them. Her grandson listens closely to Grandmamma's stories - but nothing can prepare him for the day he comes face to face with the Grand Hich Witch herself!
Dahl at his subversive best. Children fight witches, witches torment children, and one boy's bravery saves the day. I can't begin to guess how many times I've read this book since I was a child. It never gets old, and Dahl's cutting humor goes down to the bare bone and made me gasp and laugh. And I have to wonder if a kid's book where a grandma proudly smokes cigars would ever make it past the publisher today!
This was a very good read aloud book. I'd never read it until my grandson was assigned this book for summer reading between 3rd and 4th grades. We both enjoyed it very much. The other reviews are "right on target". A very unusual book but very typical of this author who is full of surprises.
I wondered how you would read this to children without giving them nightmares. Then I read the last chapter. I guess it is up to the parents to let the children know the boy and his grandmother did kill all the witches. I won't relate how, as that is a spoiler.
Great book unless you are a Wiccan and don't mind being portrayed as stereotype. And of course put it into a children book for another generation to absorb. Oh what fun. Disney pulled "Song of the South" because of it cute portrayal of Black Americans but Witches..... oh well got to have someone to target.
What a delightful book! I've read other books by this author and found this one even better. Perhaps the best part was the pages written at the end where the progress of the book is detailed. I loved it! It's grand to view the changes and comments between the author and his editors.
The book itself is about witches which, according to Grandmamma, exist in every country. When her grandson's parents are killed in an accident she must move from Norway to England so he can continue his English education. It is there that the grandson has his encounter with witches. He and Grandmamma must work to save the children of England from distinction. This is their story and a grand one it is.