Top 100 Children’s Books: #96 The Witches

As mentioned briefly here, I am joining Amber at The Literary Wife in an informal reading challenge of sorts as we read and blog our way through  the top 100 children’s books as voted on by readers of Elizabeth Bird’s A Fuse #8 Production.

Dahl, Roald. (1983).  The Witches. New York: Farrar, Strauss and Giroux.  ISBN: 9780374384579 (hc) 9780142410110 (pb)

This was another reread for me.  I remember reading all the Dahl I could get my hands on as a child and even into my teens.  At the time, I recognized how wonderful his storytelling was, but I don’t think I realized until I was an adult how diverse his body of work is.  Just his writing for children alone but add in his autobiographies and short stories for adults and it makes you wish you could meet him just to get a glimpse into how he works.

Upon rereading this story, what impresses me the most is how much world building and plot Dahl manages to put into his just over 200 pages.  We learn all about witches, how they are organized, how to recognize them, ways they have taken children in the past.  Our hero gets caught, changed into a mouse, makes not one but two daring missions where he almost gets caught and saves all of England’s children from an awful fate.  And all with a sense of humor and fun.  Who doesn’t want a granny like this?  What child doesn’t suspect that fairy tale witches aren’t real?

I also have a fond spot in my heart for the movie which I saw in the movie theater and thought was very true to the book.  Last fall I heard this story on NPR and just had to share, as it describes the rigorous process filmmakers must go through into order to get permission to adapt Dahl’s works.  To see what Amber said about The Witches, click here.

Reviewed from public library copy.  Amazon Affiliate: If you click from here to Amazon and buy something, I receive a percentage of the purchase price.