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WANTED: One wildly wicked witch to wed. Arriman the Awful, the handsome Wizard of the North, has decided to marry. But which witch will it be?
Arriman devises a contest: whoever performs the darkest piece of magic will become his bride. Belladonna, the smallest of the coven, wants desperately to win, but she has one problem: she's a good witch. Her spells conjure up begonias and baby birds -- not a single nest of vipers or bloodshot eyeballs. But Belladonna is in love, and she's determined to do something sinister in time for the contest. . . .
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Arriman the Awful, Loather of Light and Wizard of the North, needs a wife. How else can he have a wizard baby to carry on the family tradition of blighting and smiting, blasting and wuthering? The problem is, wizards can only marry one kind of person--a witch. Arriman dreads the thought. "A great black crone with warts and blisters in unmentionable places from crashing about on her broom! You want me to sit opposite one of those every morning eating my cornflakes?" But a witch it must be, so Arriman holds a contest to decide which witch. The local witches are all atwitter over what spell they'll perform for the contest--all except Belladonna, who is, to her great shame, a white witch. She looks rather like the girl on the Clairol Herbal Essence bottle, with a sweet face and flowing blonde hair. "There was usually something in Belladonna's hair: A fledgling blackbird parked there by its mother while she went to hunt for worms, a baby squirrel wanting somewhere safe to eat its hazel nuts, or a butterfly who thought she was a lily or a rose."
Black spells are cast, enchantments are woven, and even Belladonna manages to do a little damage in this wonderfully clever 1979 book by Eva Ibbotson (of The Secret of Platform 13). Young readers will delight in the way Ibbotson glories in the ghoulish and the gory--and in her engaging characters who are kindly and fiendish all at once. Which Witch (finally reissued in the United States) begs to be read aloud, with before-bed-length chapters and lots of opportunities for funny voices. (Ages 9 and older) --Claire DedererAbout the Author:
Eva Ibbotson was born in Vienna in 1925 and moved to England with her father when the Nazis came into power. Ibbotson wrote more than twenty books for children and young adults, many of which garnered nominations for major awards for children's literature in the UK, including the Nestle Smarties Book Prize and the Whitbread Prize. Eva's critically acclaimed Journey to the River Sea won the Smarties Gold Medal in 2001. Set in the Amazon, it was written in honour of her deceased husband Alan, a former naturalist. Imaginative and humorous, Eva's books often convey her love of nature, in particular the Austrian countryside, which is evident in works such as The Star Of Kazan and A Song For Summer. Eva passed away at her home in Newcastle on October 20th 2010. Her final book, One Boy and His Dog, was published in May 2011 and has been nominated Children's Book of the Year at the 2011 Galaxy National Book Awards.
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