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Alice and Greta: A Tale of Two Witches

Alice and Greta: A Tale of Two Witches

5.0 3
by Steven J. Simmons

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Alice is a good witch. And Greta... well, Greta and trouble are never far apart. Alice spends her time helping others by weaving her enchanting spells. All Greta does is wreak havoc. But when a forgotten spell comes back to haunt her, Greta's stuck learning something she should have learned long ago.


Alice is a good witch. And Greta... well, Greta and trouble are never far apart. Alice spends her time helping others by weaving her enchanting spells. All Greta does is wreak havoc. But when a forgotten spell comes back to haunt her, Greta's stuck learning something she should have learned long ago.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
This prim volume preaches the "Brewmerang Principle," which states that "Whatever you chant,/ Whatever you brew,/ Sooner or later/ Comes back to you." Alice is a winsome and well-behaved witch; Greta is of the wartier wicked variety. Both girls learn the same sorcery at Miss Mildred Mildew's School of Magic, but "whereas Alice's spells were simply enchanting... Greta's were deviously diabolical." For instance, Alice conjures an ocean wave to lift a stranded boat from a sandbar, while Greta uses the same spell to wreck a sand castle. Readers are meant to detest the rebellious Greta and adore the cloyingly cute Alice; in the story's resolution, Alice uses the Brewmerang Principle to reverse one of Greta's pranks ("The children crowded around Alice and cheered!"). Yet the lesson in good karma backfires. Simmons never suggests why Greta became so mean, nor shows another witch doing a kind deed for her. Likewise, Moore's watercolors, with plenty of pink for Alice and "poison green" for Greta, only accept sugar-and-spice notions of a proper little girl. By pitting pert against punk, the collaborators inadvertently evoke sympathy for the antihero. All ages. (Aug.)
Children's Literature - Leila Toledo
Two witches graduate from the same school. Alice uses all of her powers and spells to help people, whereas Greta takes what she has learned and misuses her powers. This is a nicely illustrated lesson in getting along with others. The question is: Will Greta reap what she sows?
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2Alice and Greta are two young witches attending Miss Mildew's School of Magic. Alice uses her magic for positive results, while Greta, in contrast, plays tricks that land her in trouble. That habit causes Greta to miss an important lessonthe "Brewmerang Principle""Whatever you chant,/Whatever you brew,/Sooner or later/Comes back to you!" After graduation, Alice uses her powers to rescue stranded sailboats and find lost puppies, while Greta uses them to spread confusion. Her pice de rsistance involves covering some children with melted marshmallows. At first delighted, the youngsters become scared when they realize they're stuck. Alice's attempt to rescue them lands her in the goo as well. However, she paid attention to the Brewmerang Principle, and is able to reverse the spell, leaving Greta to suffer the results of her misdeeds. As with the melted marshmallows, a little bit of moralism would have gone a long way in this book. Instead readers are nearly suffocated with sweet stuff, which prevents true characterization or plot development. Overly generous use of pink (Alice) and green (Greta) in the illustrations goes hand-in-heavy-hand with the pedantic tone of the text.Tana Elias, Meadowridge Branch Library, Madison, WI
Kirkus Reviews
The effects of artistic license become clear in this picture book from Simmons, who shows what happens to two witches who attend the same school, and are taught the same lessons, but find widely different uses for their craft.

Alice's bucolic perch on a mountain has a sign that says "Welcome!" while Greta's sign warns, "Keep Away!" Butterflies and bluebirds attend one child-witch, buzzards and bats the other. When school's out, the stage is set: Alice conjures a wave for a family whose boat is stranded on a sandbar, while Greta conjures a similar wave to wash away a child's sandcastle. More examples of their opposing worldviews follow, but most readers will get the point, and it may be the simple predictability of the plot they will enjoy most. By the time Greta gets her comeuppance—she was not in school the day the most important of witchy lessons was taught, a take on the old what-goes-around- comes-around chestnut—readers will be anticipating the punishment, but not Alice's reward. As a result of all her good deeds, her view from the hill is getting "better and better," with levitating children bearing thank-you notes, cookies, and flowers. Moore has a style like Lynn Munsinger's, with charmingly detailed watercolors that endlessly tinker with the symmetry of the tale—e.g., the bats have come to Alice's side in the last scene.

Product Details

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Penguin Random House Publisher Services
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File size:
13 MB
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Age Range:
4 - 7 Years

Meet the Author

Steven J. Simmons is the author of the best-selling children's book, ALICE AND GRETA: A TALE OF TWO WITCHES. He was inspired to write the story while playing with his children on a hill behind his home. In an interview on "The Today Show," Steven said that he felt a "spontaneous combustion" as the story took shape in his mind. He visits schools and reads his stories to many classrooms full of eager listeners.

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Alice and Greta 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
NayTay10 More than 1 year ago
My daughter is currently 18 when she was little this was her favorite book. The book in question went missing so I bought it again and gave it to her for Christmas this year! She was thrilled and we've read it together multiple times since Christmas (just like the old days); and she reads it to the little boy that she babysits!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago