“A generous witch's kindness saves her from a hungry dragon.”
“Iggety, ziggety, zaggety, ZOOM!” While a witch and her cat are flying on her broom, the wind makes her drop different items, and animals on the ground help her find them. They each ask if there’s room on the broom for them—though for what reason, it’s unclear—and the kind witch says yes. Unforunately, the bad weather and extra bodies make the broom snap in half, dropping the witch near a hungry dragon! The animal friends, all covered in mud, save the witch from the dragon, and together they create the best broomstick ever. From the duo who also created the “The Gruffalo,” this beautifully-written story has a lovely, flowing rhyme and cadence—though we suggest finding a copy with the original text, as some editions have Americanized changes. The illustrations are an expressive mix of entire pages and smaller vignettes showing the progression of the story. Readers will notice different details each read, like facial expressions or the placement of potion ingredients (plus, there’s a hidden Gruaffo arm somewhere!). The structure and repitition of the story make it easy for children to follow, and the important messages of kindess, sharing, and friendship make this a wonderful book for all year long.
This might seem like a Halloween book but its message is a good one year round. The rhyming text is consistent and clever and the colorful and humorous illustrations are sure to delight. The generous witch earns some loyalty from her new-found friends who return the favor in an unexpected way leading to a clever turn of events at the end. It is long for young listeners, but worth the time if they have the attention span for a longer read.
Julia Donaldson is the bestselling author of many books for children, including One Ted Falls Out of Bed, The Gruffalo, and The Giants and the Joneses. She splits her time between England and Scotland with her family.