The Witches by Roald Dahl
“The Witches” by Roald Dahl has made many a child quiver with fear and delight! Witches really are a detestable breed. They disguise themselves as lovely ladies, when secretly they want to squish and squelch all the wretched children they despise. Luckily one boy and his grandmother know how to recognize these vile creatures – but can they get rid of them for good? “A true genius…Roald Dahl is my hero.” (David Walliams). Roald Dahl, the best-loved of children’s writers, was born in Wales of Norwegian parents. After school in England he went to work for Shell in Africa. He began to write after “a monumental bash on the head”, sustained as an RAF pilot in World War II. Roald Dahl died in 1990. Quentin Blake is one of the best-known and best-loved children’s illustrators and it’s impossible now to think of Roald Dahl’s writings without imagining Quentin Blake’s illustrations.”
Blurb from Waterstones.com
‘A REAL WITCH is easily the most dangerous of all living creatures on earth.’
This is my favourite Roald Dahl book. This wasn’t on my to read list, I was trying to find the Enid Blyton book and came across this. I’ve also seen the film version loads of times and to re-read the book after such a long time, I found it hard to try to distance myself from what the characters looked like in the film to how I was reading the book. Yes, the film stays true to the book until the end. I had such fun reading this that, although everyone knows the story I think it should be read again and again, even if like me you don’t have children.
I loved the use of language, the emphasis on words and the use of Quentin Blake’s illustrations, both work beautifully together.
Roald Dahl starts the book with an explanation on witches and how to spot a witch, what signs to look for like wearing gloves, a wig, etc. We then begin the story where we meet a little boy. His name is never mentioned and we only know him as ‘my darling’ by his grandmother. In the film he is known as Luke. After his parents are killed he goes to live with his Norwegian Grandmother. They go to live in his parents home in England and plan to travel back to Norway in the summer until his Grandmother takes ill. They are told under no circumstances to travel to Norway and can only go to the English coast for a holiday. In the meantime his Grandma tells him stories about witches and how to spot one, and one day he thinks he meets one in the garden.
The pair go off on their holiday and it’s whilst in the hotel the boy finds a party of witches and their plan to get rid of all the children in the world by turning them into mice!
unfortunately he,along with another boy named Bruno get to be the first ‘victims’ and it’s from there the adventure begins.
Everyone should read this book as the ending is so sweet (the film changes it) and has a lovely message I think, about love and who we are, because in the end he is still a mouse, and will only have 9 years left and it’s his Grandmother, who keeps on loving him and accepts him still for who and what he is although he is a mouse.
The line I loved most in the book was:
“It doesn’t matter who you are or what you look like, so long as somebody loves you.”
A lesson we all should learn I think.
Thank you for reading.