Jennifer, Hecate, Macbeth, William McKinley, and Me, Elizabeth

Jennifer, Hecate, Macbeth, William McKinley, and Me, Elizabeth

4.5 13
by E. L. Konigsburg
     
 

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Elizabeth is an only child, new in town, and the shortest kid in her class. She's also pretty lonely, until she meets Jennifer. Jennifer is...well, different. She's read Macbeth. She never wears jeans or shorts. She never says "Please" or "thank you." And she says she is a witch.

It's not always easy being friends with a witch, but it's never boring

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Overview

Elizabeth is an only child, new in town, and the shortest kid in her class. She's also pretty lonely, until she meets Jennifer. Jennifer is...well, different. She's read Macbeth. She never wears jeans or shorts. She never says "Please" or "thank you." And she says she is a witch.

It's not always easy being friends with a witch, but it's never boring. As first an apprentice and then a journeyman witch, Elizabeth learns to eat raw eggs and how to cast small spells. And she and Jennifer collaborate on cooking up an ointment that will enable them to fly. That's when a marvelous toad, Hilary Ezra, enters their lives. And that's when trouble starts to brew.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
It is not easy being new in town, tiny in stature, an only child and the loneliest girl in the USA. Elizabeth is all of these, but life changes dramatically when she meets Jennifer. Jennifer is not like other children, as a matter of fact, she is a self-proclaimed witch. Elizabeth readily becomes her apprentice, and although she is a picky eater, she goes through weeks of food trials. One week she must consume a raw egg daily, then comes the raw oatmeal, followed by a week of raw hot dogs. After the week of onion sandwiches the girls begin to work on creating a flying ointment. Enter Hilary Ezra, a much-loved toad. Both girls vie for the affections of the toad (which does not seem to love them back) and haul him everywhere in a little red wagon. Elizabeth is horrified when Jennifer teaches her about Macbeth and she realizes that the first ingredient for the flying ointment is a toad. Things really start to jump and spells are flying! From the perspective of a ten-year-old comes an engaging and timeless story. Konigsburg's loveable characters have been around for decades and are sure to be as appealing today as they were when first published. Black pen-and-ink sketches accompany the story.
—Laura Hummel
From the Publisher
"An entertaining tale that has staying power."
School Library Journal, starred review

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781557361431
Publisher:
Pages, Incorporated
Publication date:
12/01/1989
Pages:
130
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x (d)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

Read an Excerpt

This is the way Jennifer operated: 1. She left the wagon outside the door of the house and out of sight of her victim. 2. She rang the bell. 3. Instead of smiling and saying "trick or treat," she said nothing when the people came to the door. 4. She half fell against the door post and said, "I would like just a drink of water." 5. She breathed hard. 6. The lady or man who answered would say, "Of course," and would bring her a drink of water. 7. As she reached out to get the water, she dropped her big, empty bag. 8. The lady or man noticed how empty it was and said, "Don't you want just a little something?" 9. The lady or man poured stuff into Jennifer's bag. 10. The lady or man put a little something in my bag, too. 11. Jennifer and I left the house. 12. Jennifer dumped the treats into the wagon. 13. Jennifer clop-clopped to the next house with the bag empty again. 14. I walked.

Jennifer did this at every house. She always drank a glass of water. She always managed to drop her empty bag. I asked her how she could drink so much water. She must have had about twenty-four glasses. She didn't answer. She shrugged her shoulders and walked with her head up, eyes up. I sort of remembered something about a water test for witches. But I also sort of remembered that it was something about witches being able to float on water that was outside their bodies, not water that was inside their bodies.

I asked Jennifer why she didn't wear a mask. She answered that one disguise was enough. She told me that all year long she was a witch, disguised as a perfectly normal girl; on Halloween she became undisguised. She may be a witch, I thought, and, of course, she was a girl. But perfect never! And normal never!

I can say that Jennifer collected more treats on that Halloween than I had in all my years put together including the time I was a mouse in my sleepers with the feet in. Because I was with Jennifer each time she went into her act, I managed to collect more treats on that Halloween than I ever had before but not nearly as many as Jennifer. My bag was heavy, though.

Jennifer and I parted about a block from my apartment house. My bag was so heavy that I could hardly hold it with one hand as I pushed the button for the elevator. I put the bag on the floor while I waited. When the elevator arrived, I leaned over to pick up my bundle and heard my Pilgrim dress go r-r-r-r-r-r-i-p. I arrived at our apartment, tired and torn, but happy. Happy because I had had a successful Halloween; happy because I had not met Cynthia on the elevator; and happy because my costume had ripped. I wouldn't have to be an itchy Pilgrim another Halloween.

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Meet the Author

E.L. Konigsburg is the only author to have won the Newbery Medal and be runner-up in the same year. In 1968, From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler won the Newbery Medal and Jennifer, Hecate, Macbeth, William McKinley, and Me, Elizabeth was named a Newbery Honor Book. Almost thirty years later she won the Newbery Medal once again for The View From Saturday. She has also written and illustrated three picture books: Samuel Todd’s Book of Great Colors, Samuel Todd’s Book of Great Inventions, and Amy Elizabeth Explores Bloomingdale’s. In 2000 she wrote Silent to the Bone, which was named a New York Times Notable Book and an ALA Best Book for Young Adults, among many other honors.

After completing her degree at Carnegie Mellon University, Ms. Konigsburg did graduate work in organic chemistry at the University of Pittsburgh. For several years she taught science at a private girls’ school. When the third of her three children started kindergarten, she began to write. She now lives on the beach in North Florida.

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