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5.0 1
by Miriam Glassman, Victoria Roberts (Illustrator)

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When crotchety old witch Hepzibah is given a human child to take care of, she's horrified ("not a wart on her," poor thing).

And when, after years of careful training in witchery, the child, Halloweena, asks for human playmates, Hepzibah is aghast. Nevertheless, she wants to see Halloweena happy, and as she tries to find friends


When crotchety old witch Hepzibah is given a human child to take care of, she's horrified ("not a wart on her," poor thing).

And when, after years of careful training in witchery, the child, Halloweena, asks for human playmates, Hepzibah is aghast. Nevertheless, she wants to see Halloweena happy, and as she tries to find friends for her daughter, Halloweena proves she is indeed a good witch-in-training by conjuring up a way to keep them both happy.
A wickedly funny tale of adoption, acceptance, and self-sufficiency, for ALL seasons, with spellbinding illustrations by the New Yorker artist Victoria Roberts.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Parental responsibilities weigh on Hepzibah the witch, who gives up her "wild nights out with the ghouls" to tend Halloweena, the human baby thrust on the witch by her sister. Hepzibah builds Halloweena a three-pronged training broom and teaches her to "burn cupcakes to a crackly crisp," but refuses to let her befriend unmagical children. Inevitably, the girl gets her way-on her namesake holiday. Glassman (Box Top Dreams) enlivens her premise with witty wordplay and sneaky fairy-tale references; New Yorker cartoonist Roberts offsets the creepy-crawlies (e.g., fresh-baked "lady fingers" are the kind with knuckles) by depicting a matronly Hepzibah tidily presiding over a menagerie of cats, bats and reptiles. Ages 4-8. (Sept.) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Children's Literature
Hepzibah the witch is given a human child to raise and she's clueless, but soon she's sewing outfits, planting fruit trees and beans, and trying to be a good mother. She even makes a broom with training brooms for the new little flyer for her birthday. But the child, Halloweena, wants to make friends with human children, depicted here as smiling, sappily dressed in fifties-type attire with seventies-type fabrics. Hepzibah calls her witchy friends for advice but none of it seems useful. However, when Halloweena discovers a dropped piece of candy one Halloween night, she loves it and uses a spell to make candy corn appear on cornstalks; and soon she has plenty of friends. It all tries hard to be funny but Roberts' cartoonish illustrations with plenty of extraneous detail threaten to overwhelm the plot¾with cats doing crazy tricks, an inventive table saw extruding cut body parts, and a snake telephone service that begs belief. The lame ending of having a "Halloweena" party for the newfound friends a day after the real holiday ends the rambling story. There are plenty of good witch books¾or good bad witch books¾to read in honor of Halloween, such as Witilda, Heckedy Peg, Baba Yaga, the "Little Witch" stories, and Witches Supermarket. Select one of those and let this one fly off into the night. 2002, Atheneum,
— Susan Hepler
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 3-For the witch Hepzibah, life in her tower eating burned cupcakes and keeping people away is paradise. Then her world is turned topsy-turvy with the arrival of a human baby, sent by her sister. Named Halloweena for the day she arrived, the little girl proves a challenge for the witch, who must give up "her wild nights out with the ghouls." Despite Hepzibah's best efforts, by the time she is six years old, little Halloweena wants to meet the children who trick-or-treat at her house each year. Hepzibah tries to cook up a few friends, but Halloweena comes up with just the magic to get all the companions she needs-a cornfield with "gleaming stalks" of candy "rising high into the sky." Roberts's winsome pen, ink, and watercolor illustrations are full of witchy details like bat pajamas, the broom equivalent of a tricycle, and a cobweb canopy on the crib. Even the endpapers have a delightful chorus line of beasties in witches' hats. Use this with Caralyn and Mark Buehner's A Job for Wittilda (Dial, 1993; o.p.) and one of Tomie dePaola's "Strega Nona" books (Putnam) for a merry witch program.-Bina Williams, Bridgeport Public Library, CT
Kirkus Reviews
A very giggle-inducing telling of an unusual adoption story. Hepzibah the witch lives in a tower by an old cornfield, eating nothing but burnt cupcakes. She's not pleased when her sister leaves her a human child, but she adopts her, names her Halloweena, and figures, "if I can change a fool into a flea, I could certainly change a diaper." She finds, though, that she has to pull up all the poison ivy and plant fruit trees, and give up her nights out with the ghouls. As she grows, Halloweena misses other children; by the time she is six, she manages to attract some human friends by magicking the cornfield into growing candy corn. It all ends with "a Halloweena party." There's a fine interplay between the droll text and Roberts's wonderfully puckish illustrations (New Yorker readers will recognize her signature curlicues). When Halloweena has trouble riding a broom, Hepzibah makes her a training broom with three brushes; Hepzibah muses, "how hard could it be to make a few friends?" and the image shows her with her cauldron surrounded by packets of "best friends mix"; Baby Halloweena's stylish, round crib has a pink-and-white coverlet and a netting of spider webs. Yoking the sweetly normal (Hepzibah's ironing board) with the wryly odd (the ironing board has chicken feet) reflects the very human story of fitting in, making friends, and working with what you are given. (Picture book. 4-8)

Product Details

Atheneum Books for Young Readers
Publication date:
Edition description:
Product dimensions:
8.72(w) x 9.26(h) x 0.44(d)
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

Meet the Author

Victoria Roberts is an internationally renowned cartoonist whose work appears regularly in The New Yorker, The New York Times, Real Simple, and The Australian.

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Halloweena 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This wonderful Halloween storytale has quickly become a nightly bedtime tradition in our house. Each night, we're able to find some new detail that charms us all over again. The wonderfully kooky plot with fun fairy-tale references quickly moved "Shrek" to the back shelf! Robert's' quirky drawings and Glassman's fantastic writing is sure to be appreciated by all.