A Dahl A Day – The Witches

the-witches

Apologies for the later delivery of this review today – I had a very late training session with netball last night and just collapsed in bed when I got in! But I’m here now and to The Witches I go!

Witches are real. They live amongst us, plotting and planning, trying to find ways to get rid of the creature they most hate, despise and loathe – small children. Led by the Grand High Witch, these foul creatures will stop at nothing in their quest to remove ALL children from the planet. But wait, don’t despair dear reader for this book, this excellent and very special book, will teach you how to spot a witch and what to do when you find one…

The Witches effortlessly combines the most villainous of the fairy tale villains – the child-catcher/the witch figure – with the everyday to create an ingenious, fantastical tale. Our boy narrator and his savvy Norwegian grandmother (who just happens to have been a witch hunter in her youth) lead us through this dark-humoured story of witches and witchcraft as they discover the Grand High Witches plan and decide to take her on!

This was one of my favourite Dahl stories as a child because it is packed with tall tales of witchy evils, tips and tricks to spot them as well as a story of a triumphant seaside adventure. I even remember desperately trying to memorise the six witchy ‘tells’ so I too would be an expert like the grandmother! The pace of the book is very quick which means children can take on and embrace as much of the creepy/scary elements as they feel equipped to deal with – I read and listened to this book a lot and never got scared but when the film came out and the scene with the Grand High Witch de-masking came on…

There are so many clever little wordplays and mini stories that help to make The Witches a particularly playful fantasy book. I loved that the witches are hiding in the Bournemouth hotel under the guise of members of the RSPCC (Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children) – I feel Dahl enjoyed himself when he wrote that!

he whole book ignites and excites your imagination and the grand plan at the end just adds to the feeling of on-going adventures ahead – you want to be whisked up with the little boy and his grandmother and go on far-flung witch-prevention quests, or at least I did (which probably goes some way to explain my love for particular television shows – namely Buffy and Supernatural…)!

4 star

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