Witch's Child

Witch's Child

by Arthur Yorinks, Jos A. Smith
A creator of the bestselling Mommy? and an acclaimed illustrator will BEWITCH READERS!

Who wants to be a witch's child?

When a witch wishes to have a child of her own, she creates one from straw and names her Rosalie. But when the witch tries to coax the straw girl into life, she is thwarted at every turn, until finally she abandons her


A creator of the bestselling Mommy? and an acclaimed illustrator will BEWITCH READERS!

Who wants to be a witch's child?

When a witch wishes to have a child of her own, she creates one from straw and names her Rosalie. But when the witch tries to coax the straw girl into life, she is thwarted at every turn, until finally she abandons her inanimate creation.

Then one day while the witch is away, a young girl wanders into the witch's house. She befriends Rosalie, but she tarries too long. The witch is coming home! Who will save this young girl?

The haunting and bewitching illustrations by inspired artist Jos. A. Smith dramatically bring to life this poignant and spine-tingling story by Arthur Yorinks.

Praise for Jos. A. Smith

"[Smith's] watercolor art, embellished with pencil, watercolor pencil, and pen and ink, is dramatic and a perfect complement to the vivid prose . . ." —Kirkus

"Smith's watercolors masterfully portray all of the characters and scenes . . ." —School Library Journal

Praise for Arthur Yorinks

Author of a Caldecott Award-winning book

"Yorinks moves it all along at a good pace . . . children will enjoy . . ." —School Library Journal

"Yorinks's droll storytelling talents are perfect . . ." —Publishers Weekly

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

For readers seeking a weird and haunting autumn read, this fairy tale by Yorinks (Mommy?) and Smith (Circus Train) fits the bill. The opening illustration alone is the stuff of nightmares. A wraithlike woman, clad in a billowing inky-black dress, seems suspended face-down from a branch in an overcast forest of leafless gray trees (she is, apparently, flying). Meet Rosina, a witch who "was powerful and evil and had all there was to have-all but one thing. A child." Never mind Rosina's evident lack of maternal qualities. She crafts a daughter, from "straw and leaves and clumps of her own hair." Yet her spells fail to animate the scarecrow-girl, Rosalie, whose empty eyes and limp body are uncanny in their own right, and when real children play too roughly with the doll, Rosina transforms them into thorn bushes (Smith's images here register high on the spine-shivering scale). Like Sleeping Beauty's vines, the magic shrubs enchant would-be visitors until a compassionate girl wanders in. As the visitor cuddles Rosalie, the witch flies in the window and the doll comes to life with a vengeance; in the violent conclusion, unredeemed Rosina brandishes a butcher knife but falls into the fireplace. Yorinks's measured storytelling raises goosebumps, and Smith's surreal, full-bleed images heighten the suspense. Ages 5-9. (Oct.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Children's Literature - Ken Marantz
Rosina is a truly mean, evil witch. When she wants a child, she makes one of straw and leaves and calls her Rosalie. But no spell can bring her to life. Rosina brings Rosalie out to play with other children, but their play simply makes her fall apart. In anger, Rosina turns each child into a thorny bush and abandons Rosalie by the dustbin. One day a young girl named Lina comes upon Rosalie, puts her together, hugs her, and gives her the love she never had. When Rosina returns, she angrily prepares to cook Lina. Magically, Rosalie saves Lina, and Rosina is burned in her own fire. The next day Lina's parents take them both home; all the other children are released from their spell. The front endpapers depict bare branches against a cloudy gray sky; the rear pages show a blue sky and bright blossoms on the branches. Thus we are prepared for a happy ending to the dark tale. Smith creates a believable, real looking witch with frightful hair, crooked nose, and the ability to fly, along with detailed naturalistic scenes on single and double pages. The darkness gives way to light as the evil yields to good.
School Library Journal

Gr 1-4-Rosina, a "cruel and absolutely heartless" witch, longs for a child and, on an October night, cobbles one together out of straw, leaves, and "clumps of her own hair." However, despite the woman's powerful spells, Rosalie remains lifeless. One spring day, Rosina sees some children playing in a nearby field and carries her daughter outside, thinking that the interaction might awaken her. But the youngsters handle Rosalie too roughly and the angry witch turns them into "stunted and prickly" bushes and tosses the straw girl next to the dustbin. The following September, Lina, an "inquisitive" child, sneaks into Rosina's house, finds Rosalie, mends her, and gives her "the one thing she never had-the warmth of a loving heart." When Rosina returns and prepares to eat the intruder for dinner, it is Rosalie who saves her, destroying the terrifying witch and setting things to right. Yorinks's flowing language is evocative, and the plot builds steadily to an exciting climax. Smith's detailed paintings depict Rosina with jet-black standing-on-end hair and exaggerated facial features that vividly-and frighteningly-express her emotions. With limp limbs, vacant expression, and leafy hands, Rosalie's appearance is also unsettling, while the images of pleasant-looking, colorfully clothed children being transformed into and out of their dark thorny forms is downright creepy. Although the happy-ever-after ending-illustrated in warm autumn hues-is reassuring, this book is not for the faint of heart. Share it with readers who like truly scary stories.-Joy Fleishhacker, School Library Journal

—Joy Fleishhacker Copyright 2007 Reed Business InformationCopyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Kirkus Reviews
A bit of TLC accomplishes what a mighty witch's powers cannot in this pointed melodrama. When malign Rosina fails to bring Rosalie, the manikin she constructs from leaves and hair, to life, she spitefully puts a spell on her fields that transforms all the local children who play in them into twisted brambles. That spell is only broken after young Lina finds the discarded Rosalie and lovingly repairs her; suddenly animate, Rosalie pulls Lina away from Rosina's vicious attack, and the witch falls into a fire. Lina's parents welcome Rosalie into the family, and all the brambles revert to children whose own parents "were thankful for them and properly cared for them, as," Yorinks concludes, "they should." In his realistic, sharply drawn illustrations, Smith sends a memorably scary-looking, black-clad witch drifting over desolate countryside to work mischief, but renders the children as a multicultural bunch in modern dress-a contrast that should give young readers an extra shiver or two. Pair this with Audrey Wood's Heckedy Peg (1987), illustrated by Don Wood, for an effective fright-fest. (Picture book. 6-8)

Product Details

Abrams, Harry N., Inc.
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
9.50(w) x 10.25(h) x 0.50(d)
Age Range:
6 - 9 Years

Meet the Author

Arthur Yorinks has created a number of celebrated books for children. Among them are Mommy?, illustrated by Maurice Sendak; Hey, Al, winner of the Caldecott Medal; and Happy Bees. He is the founder and director of The Night Kitchen Radio Theater. He lives in New York City.

Jos. A. Smith has illustrated a range of books for both children and adults, among them Circus Train, which he also wrote, and Gregor Mendel, which School Library Journal called "an eye-catching picture book." He is a professor of fine arts at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York, and his work has been exhibited in galleries throughout the United States. He lives in Easton, Pennsylvania.

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