Sunday, September 15, 2013

The Witches Review

Confession: I am nearly 25 years old and this is the first Roald Dahl book I've ever read.  I was a reader as a child, too- always in the library at school or in my town.  I've seen the movies inspired by his books but if you had asked my 9 year old self who Roald Dahl was I wouldn't have any idea.

I decided to fix the oversight in my children's literature experience by reading The Witches.  This read was inspired by quite a few sources - Julia Pistell from Literary Disco recommended The Witches in their podcast, Chels from Chels&ABook hauled quite a few books from Roald Dahl over the summer AND it was just Roald Dahl Day on September 13! So, I hopped on Amazon and purchased The Witches and read it in one day.

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The Witches tells the story of a 9 year old boy who is orphaned and then raised by his Norwegian grandmama.  Grandmama is quite the story teller and we learn an incredible amount of information about the existence of witches throughout the world - how to spot them, what their motives are, and best of all -- how to get rid of them.

My favorite part of Roald Dahl's writing is when he breaks down the fourth wall and speaks directly to the reader (usually a child).  I remember this being present in many other books I read when I was younger and I loved it.  It makes the child feel special, like the author is recognizing their important role in the art of story telling and making sure they are paying attention to everything is going on.  Dahl also plays up children's humor very well (and tastefully) and I found it quite funny as an adult.  Here is an example when describing how to tell witches from regular women:
She might even - and this will make you jump - she might even be your lovely school-teacher who is reading these words to you at this very moment.  Look carefully at that teacher.  Perhaps she is smiling at the absurdity of such a suggestion.  Don't let that put you off.  It could be part of her cleverness.
I am not, of course, telling you for one second that your teacher is actually a witch.  All I am saying is that she might be one.  It is most unlikely.  But - and here comes the big "but" - it is not impossible. (c) Dahl, 1983.

HOW GREAT IS THAT? I can picture a classroom of children going wild while their teacher/maybe witch reads this aloud to them.  It is a great way to engage the child in reading and keep them coming back for more.

Overall, this was a fantastic read and I will be purchasing more Roald Dahl books in the future!


  1. I'm so glad you enjoyed it! I'm definitely looking forward to this one. Have you also seen the adaptation?

    1. I haven't seen it (yet)- but now that it's October I think I might have to watch it. I've heard some pretty hilarious things about it so I'm hoping it's just as enjoyable as the book.

  2. This was my first Roald Dahl book I've read too. I really liked it, in fact I liked all the Dahl books I've read. It's just the way it's written. It sure is a fantastic read!

    1. Which others have you read/do you recommend? I've seen Matilda, James and the Giant Peach, and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory movies and I can't decide if I want to read one of those books to see how they compare to the movies or if I should dive into one that I don't even know the plot of (like The BFG).