Alice Schertle Witch Hazel (Mexico)

ISBN 13: 9780064433686

Witch Hazel (Mexico)

3.85 avg rating
( 27 ratings by Goodreads )
 
9780064433686: Witch Hazel (Mexico)

Given some pumpkin seeds by his older brothers, Johnny plants them and makes a scarecrow from a witch hazel branch, an old dress, and an old bonnet. From that night on, Witch Hazel stands guard over the best pumpkin of all. Then on the night of the Harvest Fair beneath a harvest moon, Johnny learns Witch Hazel's true magic. Full color.

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From School Library Journal:

Kindergarten-Grade 4-- Bill and Bart care for their young sibling, Johnny, giving him pumpkin seeds to plant while they tend to their chores. Johnny makes a scarecrow out of hazel branches and woman's clothing; only one pumpkin grows, protected from birds beneath its skirt. When the older brothers go to the harvest fair, they leave behind Johnny and his pumpkin. That night, the scarecrow Hazel comes to life and lofts the pumpkin into the air, where it becomes the harvest moon. The brothers return, and comment on the lovely moon they saw; Johnny wisely says nothing, but plants more seeds for next year. The frontier setting is both stark and full of texture, with the look of burlap and rough, homespun cloth. The scarecrow reminds readers not only of the (unexplained) absence of the boys' mother, but also recalls a similar figure in George MacDonald's At the Back of the North Wind (Morrow, 1989) . The text is narrated with interesting language choices that are perfectly intelligible in context and halt the progress of the story only long enough to marvel at the individual words. The illustrations carry a remarkable variety of tones, even given the emphasis on the earthy palate, and the sometimes awkwardly posed humans add a primitive, hand-crafted look that is entirely appropriate to the subject. A fine book for fall, when the harvest moon rises. --Ruth K. MacDonald, Purdue University Calumet, Hammond, IN
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Kirkus Reviews:

Johnny lives with two man-sized brothers who are fond of him despite their careless condescension--he is young, and little; busy Bill and Bart don't want Johnny's help as they chop and plow on their wilderness farm, leaving him to observe and dream and make his own arrangements. Still, when they plant the corn, they give Johnny a few pumpkin seeds to plant, and they put up a witch-hazel branch with which he makes a special scarecrow (``Hazel'') with a long skirt to hide his one big pumpkin. In the fall, when Bart and Bill leave Johnny alone while they take their fine crop to market, he witnesses (or perhaps dreams) a magical event: Hazel tosses the pumpkin into the air, where even Johnny's brothers can see that it makes an unsurpassed harvest moon. At the conclusion of this tender, understated story, the motherly figure that this motherless boy has made for himself tucks him into his bed before disappearing forever, while the pumpkin leaves enough seeds for another year. Tomes's gentle earth tones and old-fashioned setting nicely extend the portrait of a lonely, sweetly persistent child whose imagination helps him make accommodations with overbusy caregivers. A thoughtful change of pace for Halloween--or anytime. (Picture book. 4-9) -- Copyright 1991, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

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Alice Schertle
Published by HarperCollins Publishers (1994)
ISBN 10: 0064433684 ISBN 13: 9780064433686
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Schertle, Alice
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Alice Schertle, Margot Tomes (Illustrator)
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