Monday, August 4, 2014

A Review of 'The Witches' by Roald Dahl

"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!"

This is another one I read with my fifth graders.  I tried the tactic of letting them pick their "book club" book and it worked!  They absolutely loved this book!  They loved how The Grand High Witch talked and they liked how they were turning all of the children into mice in order to get rid of them all!  I'll have to try this more often when I'm a teacher... at least with the kids I trust.

This is a really cute younger read.  Roald Dahl certainly has a style of his own.  It's simplistic and yet entertaining.  I like that this story includes the old, the Grandmother's stories about the witches she's heard about and encountered, but also that the old could be mixed with the new when the boy has his own encounter with witches.  Because the witches are dangerous, I was on edge the entire time the boy was stuck in the room with the witch convention.  You don't know his name, but you do end up caring for this boy.

I didn't really care for the ending too much.  In general, I feel like the boy and his grandmother have kind of an unhealthy relationship.  This is really weird to say, but sometimes their relationship felt more like a romantic one than one between grandmother and grandson.  I think it was the line that was kind of like "I'll spend the rest of my life with you, grandmamma.  I love my grandmas, but I don't love them to the point where I want to spend the rest of my life with either one of them.  That's a feeling that I reserve for my boyfriend.  It's true that this boy will spend the rest of his life as a mouse and therefore he'll die sooner and still in mouse form (oops, spoiler), but the phrasing was really strange.  But it's also the way that the grandmother and her grandson spend the end of the book plotting to kill all of the witches (in the world?).  They destroyed these witches because there was a bit of an emergency at hand.  But to finish this job and want more, that's a little scary.

This book is good if you want a fast, simple, and yet clever read.

I give 'The Witches':
Thanks for Reading!


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