"The Witches" by Roald Dahl has made many a child quiver with fear and delight! Witches really are a detestable breed. They disguise themselves as lovely ladies, when secretly they want to squish and squelch all the wretched children they despise. Luckily one boy and his grandmother know how to recognize these vile creatures - but can they get rid of them for good? "A true genius...Roald Dahl is my hero." (David Walliams). Roald Dahl, the best-loved of children's writers, was born in Wales of Norwegian parents. After school in England he went to work for Shell in Africa. He began to write after "a monumental bash on the head", sustained as an RAF pilot in World War II. Roald Dahl died in 1990. Quentin Blake is one of the best-known and best-loved children's illustrators and it's impossible now to think of Roald Dahl's writings without imagining Quentin Blake's illustrations.
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"This is not a fairy tale. This is about real witches." So begins one of Roald Dahl's best books ever, and, ironically, it is such a great story because the premise is perfectly plausible from the outset. When the narrator's parents die in a car crash on page two (contrast this terribly real demise with that of James's parents who are devoured by an escaped rhinoceros in James and the Giant Peach), he is taken in by his cigar-smoking Norwegian grandmother, who has learned a storyteller's respect for witches and is wise to their ways.
The bond between the boy and his grandmother becomes the centerpiece of the tale--a partnership of love and understanding that survives even the boy's unfortunate transformation into a mouse. And once the two have teamed up to outwitch the witches, the boy's declaration that he's glad he's a mouse because he will now live only as long as his grandmother is far more poignant than eerie.
Of course, there's adventure here along with Dahl's trademark cleverness and sense of the grotesque. Dahl also communicates some essential truths to children: if they smoke cigars, they'll never catch cold, and, most importantly, they should never bathe, because a clean child is far, far easier for a witch to smell than a dirty one. (Ages 7 to 10, or read aloud to younger children)From the Inside Flap:
Classic Dahl in an enticing, collectable new format.
?REAL WITCHES dress in ordinary clothes and look very much like ordinary women. They live in ordinary houses and they work in ORDINARY JOBS.?
So you could be living right next door to a witch and you?d never even know it! Luckily, this story, about the defeat of the gruesome Grand High Witch and her evil cronies, points out the vital clues.
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