The Three Witches

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9780060006495: The Three Witches

The three bad witches are HUNGRY! "Let's eat these children," they say. They may have teeth that are longer than their lips and they may wear high heels, but they are NO match for two smart children, their brave grandma, three hound dogs, and a fast-running snake.

The Three Witches was first published in every tongue got to confess, the third volume of folklore collected by Zora Neale Hurston while traveling in the Gulf States in the 1930s. It has been adapted for young people by National Book Award winner Joyce Carol Thomas. The vibrant paintings have been masterfully executed by internationally celebrated artist Faith Ringgold.

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About the Author:

Zora Neale Hurston (1891-1960) was a novelist, folklorist, and anthropologist whose fictional and factual accounts of black heritage remain unparalleled. Her many books include Dust Tracks on a Road; Their Eyes Were Watching God; Jonah's Gourd Vine; Moses, Man of the Mountain; Mules and Men; and Every Tongue Got to Confess.



Faith Ringgold's artwork is in the permanent collections of the Studio Museum in Harlem, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York. Her books for young people include tar beach, a Caldecott Honor and Coretta Scott King Award Book, and O Holy Night: Christmas with the Boys Choir of Harlem. She lives in New Jersey.



Joyce Carol Thomas is an internationally renowned author who received the National Book Award for her first novel, Marked By Fire, and a Coretta Scott King Honor for The Blacker the Berry and for her first picture book, Brown Honey in Broomwheat Tea. Her picture book I Have Heard of a Land received a Coretta Scott King Honor and an IRA/CBC Teachers' Choice Award and was an ALA Notable Book. Her other titles include The Gospel Cinderella, Crowning Glory, Gingerbread Days, and A Gathering of Flowers. Ms. Thomas lives in Berkeley, California.

From School Library Journal:

Grade 1-4–Three witches had already eaten a boy and girl's mother and father, so their grandmother took them to live with her far off in the woods. Grandmother goes for food and the witches come. Those witches! Their teeth were far longer than their lips! They send the children to fetch water in a sieve; the children end up in a tree, and the witches start to chop it down with broad axes. The girl sings Block eye, chip! and the wood chips fly back into the witches' eyes and blind them. The boy calls the dogs, but they are tied up at home. Grandma returns, but is so tired from her journey that she takes a nap. A snake wakes up the old woman, she looses the dogs, and all ends well. Thomas's adaptation of the tale is careful and clever–she doesn't leave out anything, and elaborates only by drawing engaging dialogue out of the more straightforward original narrative. Ringgold's naive-style paintings in dark rich hues suit the creepy story perfectly–boy, are those witches ugly! Her portrait of Hurston, laughing, at the end of the story, lends a lovely and reassuring visual coda. Short engaging notes add context and cite Hurston's original source. Read this aloud, and add it to any collection alongside the other recent Hurston adaptations for young audiences, including Mary E. Lyons's Roy Makes a Car (S & S, 2005), Christopher Myers's Lies and Other Tall Tales (HarperCollins, 2005), and Thomas's adaptation of The Six Fools (HarperCollins, 2006).–Nina Lindsay, Oakland Public Library, CA
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