the witch family

October 21, 2015

My spooky friends! I'm so excited today. I'm finally talking about THIS BOOK - this magical perfect book that I searched for and searched for, FOR YEARS. I mentioned it in this vintage Halloween book list, but it more than deserves its own post.

'The Witch Family' by Eleanor Estes was a big big BIG childhood favorite - but it was a library read and I never owned it. And as time marched on, I remembered the story very well, but forgot the title of the book. I spent the better part of a decade trying to find it. Then along came my friend the internet (yes my lovelies, about half of my life did not have the internet) and then I found a site called Stump the Bookseller.

All I could recall by this point (my mid thirties) was that there was a little witch girl, a glass mountain and a crystal cave and a MERMAID involved in the plot. Those were the only strands of the story that had stayed with me. But someone else on the site had apparently been asking about the very same things, the glass mountain, the little witch girl.....and the Magician who Knows Everything on this site said.....'The Witch Family'?? After I looked it up on Amazon, I realized THIS WAS IT.

A lost treasure from my childhood.

With the coolest B&W illustrations by Edward Ardizonne, who has illustrated so many greats.

The storyline involves two little girls, best friends with big imaginations. So big that their stories become real - The Old Witch of their imagination has become too naughty for her own good - she must be 'BANQUISHED' (a combination of banished and vanquished) to a glass hill, forbidden from coming back to the human world except on Halloween night. So off she goes. But the girls take pity on her, alone on her magic-barren glass hill - and a little witch girl arrives to live with her. As does a magical bumblebee. And a little witch baby.

THERE'S ALSO A BABY MERMAID.

I'm reading it right now with Julia and we're both loving it. It's such a sweet story, filled with so much imagination - I meant to read it to her last fall but time just got away from us and I worried she might be too old for it now, but she's WAY into it. It's just the coolest story! The little human girls end up creating a world so real that the characters cross back and forth into each other's lives and at a certain point, Old Witch decides she's had enough of being banquished. So much fun! I never ever forgot that mermaid, I tell you, and that is the power of a childhood book.

Magical. Enchanting and fun and full of delight. (otherwise known as DELIGHTFUL.) You simply cannot let your kiddo's childhood get away without this book. If you already blew it, get one for your future grandchildren! Absolutely perfect for kids 7-10. You MUST with this one! Go read the reviews, they all say the same thing. It seems to be on everyone's Greatest Treasures of Childhood book list. And everyone remembers that MERMAID IN THE GLASS HILL.




7 comments:

  1. YES! I read this a couple of years ago, at your recommendation. I noticed there is an audiobook at the library, and I almost checked it out. The girls are reading their own things now, so we've been taking a break from the big read-alouds (just picture books, because you're never too old, right?). I do need to get this one for them. I love the way the girls talk to each other. It reminds me so much of being a kid. It's up there with The Sign on Rosie's Door. I was the kind of kid who liked to play make-believe and would try to get my friends swept up in my story.

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  2. And omigosh, I forgot to add - I love the way you photographed this! With the candy corn! I'm reminded that we need more candy corn. Our first bag is long gone...

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    1. Oh thank you sweet D! I threw away a post the other day because I had taken all phone pictures (these were on my phone too) but anyway the ones of my Halloween deco were done in low light and just looked BAD so I ditched the photos altogether. I'll try again with a real camera! I made the mistake of getting NOT Brach's candy corn - why?? No matter how pretty, I have yet to find candy corn that is better than Brach's! Note to self - always get Brach's forever!

      Julia more and more often requests to have her own reading time after we've read to her, ha - some nights she just reads on her own, there have been too many late soccer/homework nights and we just can't fit in a whole read-aloud session. Sigh. Oh I just got a new picture book, yep, they still come into the house! A GORGEOUS autumn book, I'll post it right after Halloween!

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  3. Nice styling with those candy corns. I'll be right over to help you finish those off.

    xox

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    1. I still have them, 2 days after Halloween! I ate surprisingly little sugar this past Halloween season! I haZ a big proud :)

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  4. Love Edward Ardizzone! Definitely gonna hunt down this one :)

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    1. it is SO great! we're about halfway though. Julia loves it!!

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