It’s time for the ‘A-Z challenge’- a post every day in April (except Sundays) working up through the alphabet. This year I will be writing about books that I read before I started this blog, that were important to me in some way. The vast majority are ones I still have on my bookshelf today, despite a move in house and sometimes many years since I first read it.
W is for Witches
Book: The Witches by Roald Dahl
What is it about:
A young boy goes to live with his Grandmother after his parents die. She tells him stories about witches, who look like normal women on the surface, but are really demons, hiding their bald heads, clawed hand and toeless feet with wigs and clothes. For some reason, witches hate children, and spend much of their time trying to kill them.
The boy has a few encounters with women he realises are witches, with the worst being when he accidentally finds himself stuck hidden in the room of the yearly gathering of England’s witches. Will he be able to get out alive? Or human?
When I first read this book:
My first memory was actually of the 1990 movie by the same title. When I was about 6 or 7, there was a really hot day, hot enough that it invoked the Australian opposite of a snow day. In Australia, if a school didn’t feel its airconditioning was good enough at keeping the classrooms cool enough on a day above 40 degrees Centigrade, the school would be closed. Of course this was sometimes decided in the middle of the day when we were already there. If your parents couldn’t come pick us up then, at the school I was at at the time, we went to the library and watched movies. They put on the Witches, which I thought was an odd choice because it was way too scary for me!
Why it is important to me:
Roald Dahl is one of those authors who you don’t have a simple opinion of. I like his imagination and quirkiness, but some of his books can be a bit harsh for me. I liked the BFG, I thought the witches were scary, the twits were nasty but kind of fun, his version of Cinderella was horrible, James and the Giant peach was odd, Boy (about his life) was interesting… His works all were memorable. I remember being inspired by a story of his, which I can’t remember now if it was in Boy, or in The Roald Dahl Treasury (a huge collection of poems, short stories and excerpts from his books that I loved to peruse as a child), about a huge snake. I made up my own story about a huge snake for a school project.
Who should read it:
Children who don’t frighten easily, or nostalgic adults.