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Excuse Me, Are You a Witch?
     

Excuse Me, Are You a Witch?

by Emily Horn, Pawel Pawlak (Illustrator)
 

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Herbert doesn't have a home. He doesn't have any friends, and when the weather's bad life is pretty unpleasant. Except for the library — it's always warm, and there are lots of good books to read. But you can't live at the library!

Then, while reading one day, Herbert learns that witches love pets — especially black cats! Now all Herbert has to do is

Overview

Herbert doesn't have a home. He doesn't have any friends, and when the weather's bad life is pretty unpleasant. Except for the library — it's always warm, and there are lots of good books to read. But you can't live at the library!

Then, while reading one day, Herbert learns that witches love pets — especially black cats! Now all Herbert has to do is find a witch . . .

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The title's interrogator is Herbert, a stray black kitten who reasons-based on his research in the library-that his ideal home would be with a pointy-hatted sorceress. Searching the city, he finds three likely candidates-a lady with striped stockings, a street cleaner with a broom and a witchy-looking lady cooking over a big pot-but his question only provokes fear, ridicule or outrage. "How dare you call me a witch!" the hag-like cook says, shaking her ladle. "Scram, you wicked cat! And don't come around here again!" Despite these spikes of drama, however, the story feels static-the narrative is so literally descriptive that little momentum builds, nor does it provide Herbert with much personality. Pawlak's acrylic illustrations pick up most of the slack. His strongly geometric, off-kilter renderings and thick, luminously mottled colors take on an almost cubist sense of energy. While he doesn't picture Herbert with a wide range of expressions, the feline's huge ears, intense yellow eyes and wiry whiskers exude a winsome vulnerability. Readers may not find this a wholly compelling tale, but they'll enjoy seeing this furry hero finally meet his match: an entire school of adoring young witches. Ages 4-9. (July) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
Herbert the cat, living alone on the streets, takes refuge in the library. There, in an encyclopedia, he discovers that witches love black cats. He determines to find one to take him in. But everyone he asks on the streets is upset or insulted, of course, when he asks them if they are witches. Finally, back in the library, he is happily discovered by a group of oddly dressed young girls, who turn out to be from witch school. Their witch-teacher agrees to take him back to school. Off they fly on their brooms, after checking out their materials of course, for the perfect happy ending to this fanciful story. Pawlak's engaging colored and textured illustrations are delightfully light-hearted and amusing. Herbert is an appealing Everyman seeking his proper place in life. On the front end-papers, he is on his way into the library. On the last page he is off with his new friends, perhaps to a new adventure. 2003, Whispering Coyote/Charlesbridge Publishing Co,
— Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 3-Herbert, a lonely black cat, takes refuge in the library since it is warm and full of interesting books. He learns that witches love black cats, so he sets off to find one of his own. He discovers that not every person with striped stockings, a broom, or a cauldron is a witch, and, in fact, may not like being asked the title question. The feline heads back to the library, where he is noticed by a class of little witches browsing the shelves, each of whom wants to take him home with her. The teacher solves the problem by suggesting that they take him to school and reassures him, "You're going to love being a witch-school cat!" Pawlak's engaging, angular paintings are offbeat, and filled with expressive detail. Pair this title with Caralyn and Mark Buehner's A Job for Wittilda (Dial, 1993; o.p.) for a storyhour about "off-season" witches and their cats or include it in a Halloween program. This cheery story of finding a place to belong will make a nice addition to most collections.-Bina Williams, Bridgeport Public Library, CT Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781580891035
Publisher:
Charlesbridge Publishing, Inc.
Publication date:
07/01/2004
Pages:
32
Sales rank:
875,213
Product dimensions:
8.35(w) x 10.99(h) x 0.10(d)
Age Range:
3 - 7 Years

Meet the Author

Emily Horn was born in Syndey, Australia. She studied education and art in London. Emily worked as a pre-school teacher in the United Kingdom and Australia for over 20 years. She now lives in France with her husband and their two daughters.

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