Books & Literature

Book Review: The Witches (Film Tie-in Edition), by Roald Dahl

MIDDLE GRADE FANTASY: Real witches dress in ordinary clothes and look like ordinary women. But they are not ordinary and they really hate children…

An exciting, well-written story for children and adults to enjoy together.

British novelist Roald Dahl has sold more than 250 million books, many of which have been made into movies. (Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, James and the Giant Peach, The BFG, Matilda and Esio Trot to name a few). He has been a much-loved author of books for children since The Gremlins was written in 1943.

The Witches, written in 1983, first came to the big screen in 1990 and has now been made into a new movie. To coincide with this new offering, The Witches has been reprinted with a cover showing a scene from the movie starring Anne Hathaway and Octavia Spencer. 

Few people have never heard of Roald Dahl and most will have read at least one of his books or seen a movie. Luckily, his books are timeless. They have been enthralling both children and adults for nearly 70 years. Each generation deserves to be introduced to the worlds of Roald Dahl. The Witches is no exception.

The Witches is the story of a boy and his grandmother. His parents have both been killed in a car accident and the boy is now living in Norway with the grandma who he adores. She loves to tell him stories and one day she begins to tell him about the witches who are in this world. Witches hate children with a passion and will do anything to get rid of every one of them. They have hatched a plot to remove all children from the world, but can the boy and his grandmother save them?

Roald Dahl is able to write stories which are great to read alone, but equally great to read aloud. The Witches is also a perfect story for a teacher to enjoy with a class and the occasional words in bold text are well used to add to the suspense. Written in the first person, we are drawn in from the very beginning of the book. Dahl’s characters come alive and there is enough tension to keep the reader/audience on the edge of their seats. Quentin Blake’s familiar illustrations are once again dotted throughout the text, adding to both the humour and suspense.

Every child deserves to be introduced to the worlds of Roald Dahl, and this new printing of an old favourite would be a perfect Christmas present to add to any stocking.

Reviewed by Sue Mauger

Distributed by: Penguin Books Australia
Released: November 2020
RRP: $14.99

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