The Witch's Walking Stick

Overview

Poor Margaret is waking up to another bad day. Ever since her parents died, her brother and sister have made her sweep the floors, chop the wood, cook the meals, feed the pigs, and anything else they can think to demand. Selfish, mean, and twice as big as Margaret, they always get their way. When at last Margaret has had enough, she runs away into the forest. Just as she is wondering how she will survive, she comes upon an old lady with a very sad story: a dog has run off with her walking stick, and she can’t do ...

See more details below
Other sellers (Hardcover)
  • All (22) from $1.99   
  • New (2) from $5.50   
  • Used (20) from $1.99   
Note: Kids' Club Eligible. See More Details.
Sending request ...

Overview

Poor Margaret is waking up to another bad day. Ever since her parents died, her brother and sister have made her sweep the floors, chop the wood, cook the meals, feed the pigs, and anything else they can think to demand. Selfish, mean, and twice as big as Margaret, they always get their way. When at last Margaret has had enough, she runs away into the forest. Just as she is wondering how she will survive, she comes upon an old lady with a very sad story: a dog has run off with her walking stick, and she can’t do a thing without it. When the old lady promises Margaret a reward of three gold coins for its safe return, the girl readily agrees. Little does Margaret know that the old lady is really a witch, her reward a trick, and her walking stick a magic stick the witch has used to make a thousand miserable wishes come true . . .

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Meddaugh sets her tale in the kind of archetypically bucolic landscape where magic of the stouter sort happens, with dramatically effective contrasts between full-page pictures of the witch's looming woods and spaciously set spot illustrations of Margaret getting the better of her bossy older sister and brother.Wishing for a good read-aloud? You've got it."—Horn Book, starred Horn Book, Starred

"Illustrated with watercolor and ink in a style that will put readers in mind of William Steig, Meddaugh’s dry, quirky tale of the “little guy” triumphing over adversity will have children smiling and cheering."—School Library Journal School Library Journal

"This droll original fairy tale treats timeless themes of injustice and comeuppance. . . . Younger siblings will particularly sympathize with the deceptively tiny Margaret, and cheer her on as she exacts her fierce, gleeful vengeance upon her oh-so-deserving elders."—Booklist Booklist, ALA

"If the masterly execution of 'The Witch's Walking Stick' is anything to go by, Susan Meddaugh's work is rising to a new level. I suspect that for decades to come her books will be the recipient of that greatest honor: children asking their parents to read favorites like "Martha Speaks" or "The Witch's Walking Stick"—and then read them again and again."—New York Times Book Review New York Times Book Review Notable Book

Publishers Weekly
In this comic fairy tale, a Cinderella-esque orphan flees her mean older siblings and happens upon a witch's magic walking stick. The witch typically uses the stick for "turning birds into bats or squirrels into goldfish," and the other creatures' anxious frowns arouse distinct anti-crone sympathies. Fortunately for the local fauna, the stick has "just a bit of magic left" after so many bad deeds. More fortunately still, the witch shakes the stick at a friendly spotted dog, who playfully grabs it and trots away. Meanwhile, elsewhere in the forest, young Margaret has grown tired of sleeping on straw and doing chores for her bossy older siblings. She sneaks away from home just in time to find the stick and engage the pooch in a game of fetch. As in her Lulu's Hat, Meddaugh delights in humble enchanted accessories, and as in her Martha books, she can't resist a dog rescue. This book offers a bit of both, with Margaret trumping her oppressors, foiling what's left of the witch's magic and acquiring a terrific new pet. Meddaugh's ink-and-watercolor sketches capture the characters' attitudes and enhance the comedy of the writing, as when Margaret silently arches an eyebrow at the audience, preparing to confront her nasty brother. Little guys finish first, and act benevolently, in this good-natured (and good-to-nature) story. Ages 4-8. (Aug.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
A mean old witch loses her magic walking stick to a troublesome dog and can no longer wreak havoc among the forest's small furry creatures. Margaret, a young orphan girl, tires of her older siblings' torments and runs away into the woods. When Margaret happens upon the witch's magic stick, she discovers an opportunity to teach a few lessons to her brother and sister, and maybe even to the awful old hag herself. The heroine is gutsy and creative—she turns her bossy sister into a pig and her mean brother into a ham sandwich—as well as clever and honest. At the book's end, she keeps her promise to return the witch's stick to her, with unexpected results. The story, with its witches and dark forests, orphans and magical transformations, feels like a classic old folk or fairy tale. The watercolor and ink illustrations are lighthearted and expressive, and add a lot of humor to the tale—the drawing of Margaret's pathetic excuse for a bed is over the top—and even the animals' faces are full of emotion. 2005, Houghton Mifflin, Ages 3 to 6.
—Norah Piehl
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 3-Poor Margaret lives with her mean older brother and sister in a cottage in the woods. Forced to cook and clean, she decides to run away. She meets an old woman who offers to pay her three gold coins if she can retrieve a star-topped walking stick from a dog that has run off with it. Unbeknownst to Margaret, the woman is really a mean-spirited witch who has used her walking stick to make "a thousand miserable wishes" that have wreaked magical mayhem throughout the forest. Meanwhile the dog, magic stick in mouth, is wishing for someone to throw it for him and-voila! along comes Margaret. With the ratty, drool-covered stick in hand, Margaret recognizes that it belongs to the old woman. As she wishes she knew why it could be worth gold, her wish is granted and she instantly knows that it is bewitched. She decides "to borrow" it "for an hour or so" and give her siblings their comeuppance (though she kindly declines to leave them permanently transformed as, respectively, a pig and a ham sandwich). When she returns the now wished-out stick to the witch, the hag breaks it in a fit of pique, leaving Margaret with a dog and a happier home. Illustrated with watercolor and ink in a style that will put readers in mind of William Steig, Meddaugh's dry, quirky tale of the "little guy" triumphing over adversity will have children smiling and cheering.-Marge Loch-Wouters, Menasha's Public Library, WI Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Meddaugh's wacky, and highly pleasurable, Cinderella-like tale doesn't need any prince for Margaret (as our Cinderella is known) to escape the demands of her lazy and cruel siblings, just a near-spent magic walking stick. The stick belongs to a witch who has used it to make a thousand miserable wishes come true. Almost out of steam, the witch is about to turn a dog into cat when the dog snatches the stick, thinking she wants to play. Meanwhile, across the forest, Margaret is having another wretched day being bossed around by her brother and sister. She runs away. A rolling series of comical incidents ensue, as Margaret learns of the stick's powers, gives her brother and sister the what for, ameliorates her circumstances and returns the stick just as its powers disappear. Sorry, witch. Meddaugh's droll, economical prose is matched to perfection by her wonderfully expository artwork. (Picture book. 4-8)
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780618529483
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 8/29/2005
  • Format: Library Binding
  • Edition description: None
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.25 (w) x 10.00 (h) x 0.13 (d)

Meet the Author

Susan Meddaugh was born and raised in Montclair, New Jersey. She graduated from Wheaton College, where she studied French literature and fine arts. After working briefly with an advertising agency in New York, she moved to Boston and worked at a publishing company for ten years, first as a designer, then art editor, and finally as art director. While there, she did the illustrations for GOOD STONES (Houghton Mifflin) by Anne Epstein, and then decided to strike out on her own as a freelance illustrator and creator of children's books. Since that time, Susan has written and illustrated many popular books for children, including MARTHA SPEAKS, which was chosen as a NEW YORK TIMES Best Illustrated Book for 1992. In 1998 she was awarded the New England Book Award, given by the New England Booksellers Association to recognize a body of work. Her work also was acknowledged with a New York Times Best Illustrated Award. She lives in Sherborn, Massachusetts.

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)