Not Just a Witch

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A witch who wants to Do Good? In the world of Eva Ibbotson, this means trouble. Heckie, a graduate of one of the best witch schools, settles in the town of Wellbridge, determined to discover evildoers and turn them into . . . animals. She turns the mean owner of a nasty nursing home into a warthog, a bank robber into a mouse, and a cruel chicken farmer into a fish. The Wellbridge Zoo is pleased, but Heckie's do-gooding is about to land her and some of her young friends in big, ...
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Not Just a Witch

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A witch who wants to Do Good? In the world of Eva Ibbotson, this means trouble. Heckie, a graduate of one of the best witch schools, settles in the town of Wellbridge, determined to discover evildoers and turn them into . . . animals. She turns the mean owner of a nasty nursing home into a warthog, a bank robber into a mouse, and a cruel chicken farmer into a fish. The Wellbridge Zoo is pleased, but Heckie's do-gooding is about to land her and some of her young friends in big, hairy trouble.

Author Biography: Eva Ibbotson, whose books have been short-listed for every major British prize, is a master of the comic fantasy. She works her magic again in this hilarious caper.

Wanting to be more than just an ordinary witch, Heckie, whose speciality is changing people into animals, settles in a small town determined to use her powers for good purposes.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
The Barnes & Noble Review
The Secret of Platform 13 and Which Witch? author Eva Ibbotson tells a magical tale about a do-gooder witch who gets involved with the wrong guy.

Heckie is a young, kindly witch with a remarkable ability: She can change anything into an animal. So when she meets a boy, Daniel, after graduating from a good witch school, Heckie and her pal set out to eliminate the world of bad people by changing them into critters. After Heckie conjures up a friendly dragon who reacts to evildoers and transforms a nasty nursing home owner into a warthog, she meets a furrier (Lionel Knacksap) who suspiciously asks for her hand in marriage. Unfortunately, Heckie doesn't realize that her fiancé is only out for snow leopard pelts, but she reunites with a long-lost witch friend, and her two buddies -- along with some other witches -- help Heckie get back on a good track.

An Ibbotson story with many bewitchingly funny elements, Not Just a Witch will appeal to fans while finding its place on the shelves of Roald Dahl and Bruce Coville readers. A fun follow-up after reading Platform 13 and the author's other fantastic bestsellers. Matt Warner

Publishers Weekly
The author of Dial-a-Ghost and Which Witch? conjures more rib-tickling entertainment in this fantasy featuring a witch bent on saving the world from wickedness. After graduating from witch school and settling in the small town of Wellbridge as a pet shop owner, Heckie, an animal witch, begins her campaign to flush out evildoers and transform them into exotic beasts. With the help of a motley crew of other witches and wizards, three young human beings and her "dragworm" (her half-dragon-half-worm "familiar"), she successfully manages to change a cruel nursing home director into a "warthog with a greedy snout." She then goes on to turn an abusive chicken farmer into a rare fish. Trouble brews when one of the most ghastly men in town, Lionel Knacksap, a furrier, witnesses Heckie's power and hatches a plot to sweep Heckie off her feet with his charms and make a tidy profit along the way. Blinded by love and seduced by soft-center chocolates, Heckie nearly creates disaster when she agrees to supply her new beau with 300 snow leopards. Ibbotson again blends hilarious social commentary and classic themes of good overcoming evil into a potent recipe for fun. Hawkes's whimsical portrayals of offbeat heroes and deliciously despicable villains add to the merriment. Ages 8-12. (Aug.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
Hecate Tenbury-Smith (Heckie) is a witch who turns wicked people into animals—not as a punishment, for she loves animals dearly and would never want any animal to suffer—but as a way of ridding the world of wickedness. Isn't the world improved when a profit-crazed nursing home director becomes a warthog? Or a profit-crazed chicken magnate becomes an okapi? But Heckie's noble intentions and unusual talents are exploited by greedy, duplicitous Lionel Knacksap, a profit-crazed furrier who pretends to court Heckie to further his scheme to kill three hundred snow leopards for their pelts. Only Heckie's young friends sense the coming disaster. As a villain, Knacksap is overly reminiscent of a male version of Cruella De Vil—that same obsession with beautiful animals for the sake of their fur—but kind-hearted Heckie is a witch worth rooting for. Ibbotson's voice on every single page of the novel is a wonderful treat. As just one example of hundreds of lines one longs to read aloud: "What I'm after," Heckie explains of her search for wicked people to transform into cheerful, pleasant animals, "isn't someone who's just lost his temper and battered his bank manager to death with a hammer. Battering your bank manager to death with a hammer is not good, of course, but anyone can lose their temper, and some bank managers are very annoying." From start to finish, this is a complete hilarious and even heartwarming delight. 2003 (orig. 1989), Dutton, Ages 8 to 12.
— Claudia Mills
School Library Journal
Gr 5 Up-There are some things you can always count on when you read a "Redwall" story. The bad creatures are really bad. The good creatures are really good. There will be adorable Dibbuns, gluttonous young tricksters, and brave and bold heroes and heroines. Adventure? Your buckle will definitely be swashed. And, of course, there's Redwall Abbey, the heart of a magical land. The fact that the actual stories tend to be somewhat interchangeable is mere quibbling. In this outing, Loamhedge was once a place of healing and magic, abandoned long ago because of a plague. A young wheelchair-bound haremaid named Martha is visited in a dream by Martin the Warrior, who tells her that she will find a cure there. Sarobando and Bragoon agree to make the search, and are soon joined by young scallywags Horty, Fenna, and Springald. Meanwhile, two vermin hordes converge on the abbey, determined to steal Martin's magical sword. They are thwarted by Lonna, a badger out for revenge against Raga Bol, leader of one of the hordes, and by the Redwallers themselves, led by a surprisingly forceful Martha, who in the end regains the ability to walk without any magical help at all. Like its predecessors, Loamhedge is a sophisticated read, filled with larger-than-life characters, more than a little violence, almost incomprehensible dialects, and all kinds of humor. The conclusion is ultimately satisfying-the good creatures win, the bad creatures lose, and Redwall Abbey remains a refuge and a place of peace.-Mara Alpert, Los Angeles Public Library Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Well-intentioned witches follow their hearts instead of their heads, with nearly disastrous results, in Ibbotson's latest caper. After a tiff drives them apart, two kindhearted, and previously inseparable, graduates of witch school set off to rid different towns of evildoers: Dora, by turning them to stone; Heckie (Hecate), by transforming them into zoo animals. Cottoning on to their abilities, slimy furrier Lionel Warthag contrives to woo both, planning to make a massive killing (in more ways than one) by tricking Heckie into turning the local prison's 300 inmates into highly marketable snow leopards. The author trots in her customary cast of caricatured adults and lively, intelligent children, presents a varied catalogue of criminals, including a ruthless chicken farmer and a racist demagogue, then brings her tale to a satisfying close with Warthag behind bars, and the witches friends again. Hawkes dresses the farce, previously published across the pond in 1989, with a cover and a stingy assortment of interior drawings. Not Ibbotson in top form, but sure to be snapped up by the legion of new fans she's gained in the Harry Potter interregnums. (Fiction. 10-12)
From the Publisher
The fast-moving plot, sympathetic characters, and moments of humor keep the story humming along to its satisfying conclusion. (Booklist)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781417736553
  • Publisher: San Val
  • Publication date: 8/28/2004
  • Format: Library Binding
  • Pages: 185
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.20 (w) x 7.60 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Eva Ibbotson, born Maria Charlotte Michelle Wiesner (21 January 1925 - 20 October 2010), was an Austrian-born British novelist, known for her children's books. Some of her novels for adults have been successfully reissued for the young adult market in recent years. For the historical novel Journey to the River Sea (Macmillan, 2001), she won the Smarties Prize in category 9-11 years, garnered unusual commendation as runner up for the Guardian Prize, and made the Carnegie, Whitbread, and Blue Peter shortlists. She was a finalist for the 2010 Guardian Prize at the time of her death. Her last book, The Abominables, was one of eight books on the longlist for the same award in 2012.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 5 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 3, 2008

    Not Just a Witch

    Wellbridge is the type of town that has good, bad, rich, selfish, and unselfish people. Did I include witches? Heckie is a tall, thin witch. She is an animal witch, which is the type of witch that can turn people into animals. Even when she was a baby she could give you black fur! When Heckie was a child she was enrolled in a school for witches--good witches. She there befriended a girl called Dora. Dora could turn anything into stone. She is short and tough. She was also the champion at netball. Graduation came and these witches moved to different places. Heckie moved to Wellbridge and befriended a boy, Daniel. He was the first one to know that Heckie was a witch. She meant to do well, to make the world a better place. <BR/>I loved this book! It was both hilarious and crazy at the same time! It reminded me of Roald Dahl¿s book The Witches. The Witches was the exact opposite, because in The Witches, the witches want to turn every child in London into a mouse! The witches in Not Just a Witch are thoughtful and kind. This book is a wonderful story of friendship and selflessness. I would definitely recommend this book to grades 4 and up. <BR/>Some of Ms.Ibbotson¿s marvelous books include: Island of the Aunts, The Secret of Platform 13, Which Witch, Dragonfly Pool, and Not Just a Witch. I¿m in the middle of Dragonfly Pool and it is my absolute favorite book so far!<BR/>Eva Ibbotson was born in Vienna, Austria in 1922. She has three sons and one daughter. As you can see, I really, really love Eva Ibbotson¿s books. They are very fun and exciting.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 20, 2004

    Toe and Knuckle

    This book is definintely recommended for people who are commited with humor and fantasies. A particular quote that caught my eye was, 'They were powerless.' I think that it was a very gripping quote. It was said when Hectate and her friend, Dora (who is a witch who can turn anything into stone), were unable to use their magic. It explains what they felt in one phrase. One of the high points in the book was when the dragworm (half dragon, half worm) that Hectate created started talking to her. She had thought that he was unable to talk, but found out later on in the book, that he was able to talk. This was very unexpected, yet a scream, because Hectate nearly jumped out of her skin when she saw- or heard- the dragworm talk to her. Also, another high point of the book was when Hectate's witch friends thrusted massive vegetables onto the demented Lionel Knacksap's head. Frieda Fennel was the witch who was able to grow vegetables and make them into an unnatural size. I thought that this book was a four because even though the fact that Hectate used her toe and knuckle to cast magic spells was cool, it was still sort of gross. On the cover of the book, it showed her big toe glowing, but it was also blood red. That was a very disgusting sight to see... But besides that disturbing fact, the book, overall, was pretty good. It had bits of humor in it, and I couldn't put it down, eager to read what happened next. The book was very amusing and unexpected. Not Just a Witch has a very good plot, and is truly a sensational book. i recommand this book for anyone who is interested in witches with a bit of humor thrown in.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 22, 2004

    Ibbotsons best

    Eva Ibbotson has a tendency to overdue the plots in her books. However, in this book that has vanished, and been replaced with a plot that dosen't overdue things, but still keeps readers hanging. Funny and interresting. A very good read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 14, 2004

    Great for a classroom read-a-loud

    Eva Ibbotson has hit a home run with Not Just A Witch. The characters are laugh out loud funny and leave a lasting impression on the reader. The mystery is a never ending surprise and students love to guess what is coming next. My 5th grade classroom has chosen this their favorite read -a loud of the year.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 26, 2003

    An entertaining magical tale.

    I love the style of Eva Ibbotson, and so do my students. They love when I read these stories out loud to them. I think these tales are enjoyable for adults and children alike. This story is similar to Which Witch, in that there are good witches who are trying to do good things, and mayhem is the result. I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves magical tales!

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