The Witches by Roald Dahl

The Witches by Roald Dahl

Rating: 3.5 Stars ★★★☆☆

In fairy-tales, witches always wear silly black hats and black cloaks, and they ride on broomsticks.

Plot

Grandmamma loves to tell about witches. Real witches are the most dangerous of all living creatures on earth. There’s nothing they hate so much as children, and they work all kinds of terrifying spells to get rid of them. Her grandson listens closely to Grandmamma’s stories—but nothing can prepare him for the day he comes face-to-face with The Grand High Witch herself!

Review

After losing his parents in a terrible accident, a young boy comes to live with his grandmother. She’s Norwegian, smokes cigars, is of the opinion that young children shouldn’t bathe too often and believes in witches. Needless to say, his grandmother’s pretty amazing.

My grandmother was the only grandmother I ever met who smokes cigars. She lit one now, a long black cigar that smelt of burning rubber. “The first child I knew who disappeared,” she said, “was called Ranghild Hansen.”

She tells her grandson all about them, so he’ll recognize them when he meets one and can run away. Because witches hate nothing more than children and their whole lives are spent in devising ways to disappear them.

Some of the stories she tells of how children disappeared are really, really creepy.

“The third one was little Birgit Svenson,” my grandmother said. “She lived just across the road from us. One day she started growing feathers all over her body. Within a month, she had turned into a large white chicken. Her parents kept her for years in a pen in the garden. She even laid eggs.”

When they vacation in an English seaside town, the boy stumbles onto the Witches assembly where the Grand High Witch plots to have every child in England turned into a mouse and killed.

I really liked the characters. I liked how twisted and dark the witches were and I liked how the boy took what he had to fight them and save the children of England. And the book is just so fun to read. I loved the style.

Conclusion

A deliciously dark and funny book.

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