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The Witch's Children

Overview

A warm and funny tale with a bit of magic every child can use.

One windy day the witch’s children went to the park . . .

Look out! The witch’s children are coming and that means trouble!

They are only trying to be helpful when they turn Gemma into a frog, the ice-cream van into a golden coach, and the pigeons into footmen. But then the witch’s children don’t know how to break...

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Overview

A warm and funny tale with a bit of magic every child can use.

One windy day the witch’s children went to the park . . .

Look out! The witch’s children are coming and that means trouble!

They are only trying to be helpful when they turn Gemma into a frog, the ice-cream van into a golden coach, and the pigeons into footmen. But then the witch’s children don’t know how to break the spells! How will they return everything to normal? Fortunately, the youngest child knows one bit of magic. It goes like this: “Mom!”

This funny and reassuring picture book is exuberantly illustrated and perfect for reading aloud.

When the two older witch's children use their magic to create trouble in the park, the Little One knows how to fix the problem.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
When the witch's three children enter the park, the pigeons and squirrels know trouble is coming. The prophecy proves correct: when the toy boat belonging to their friend Gemma capsizes in the pond, the Eldest One helpfully changes her into a frog so she can swim out to rescue it. But the Eldest One hasn't learned how to reverse the spell, so the Middle One steps up to do her part. A series of transformations produces a palace, footmen, a familiar pumpkin-shaped coach and, of course, a princess, whom the Middle One orders to kiss the frog. When this plan backfires, the Little One pulls out the one bit of magic she knows: she yells for Mommy! Jones's debut contains some derivative elements, but along with them come amusing asides and a reassuring resolution. Ayto's (Cinderella and the Hot Air Balloon) quirky, angular art delivers much of the volume's humor. He adds the atmospheric details: when readers first see the witch's children, bats hover above them, spiders dangle from their clothing and assorted critters trail behind. His balloon-shaped pigeons visibly panic, and his transformed characters retain comical vestiges of their old selves. Kinetic and creatively skewed, these illustrations make the most of the slender tale. Ages 4-7. (Apr.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2-One windy day, three siblings visit the park and, in an attempt to be helpful, unintentionally create an adventure for a few innocent bystanders. Apparently still witches-in-training, the children know only half-magic. "Look out," the pigeons and squirrels warn, for they all know that this means trouble. The Eldest and the Middle One appear quite capable of changing people and animals into other creatures, but haven't learned as yet how to change them back to their original form. The Little One saves the day by thinking of the best solution to the problem; she yells for "MOMMY!" Various elements of fairy tales are presented here, including, a frog, a princess, footmen, a golden coach, and a palace. Entertaining illustrations depict three amiable children-made up of mostly round heads with legs-accompanied by spiders, bats, a frog, a mouse, and insects trailing along behind like well-behaved pets. The pictures show each three-step transformation that the unfortunate spells produce and, later, the witch's expert reversals. Small details in the drawings add to the humor, such as each child sporting a beauty mark (or perhaps it's a wart), just like mother's. An entertaining romp, sure to please.-Maryann H. Owen, Racine Public Library, WI Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Pigeons and squirrels beat hasty retreats when a trio of witch children saunters into the park one breezy day. But it’s in vain, for soon the birds have been transformed into fat footmen, the squirrels into soldiers, the ice-cream lady into a fair princess, and an unwary child named Gemma into a frog, then a handsome prince. "Change us back," all demand, but the children shrug, admitting that they don’t know how. In spacious cartoons, Ayto shows the park’s dismayed residents changing, stage by stage, as wind-driven bats and bugs flutter about and the youngest of the witch children stands by, laughing heartily. It’s that same youngster, though, who ultimately calls on her one bit of magic--"MOMMY!"--and down from the clouds sweeps a pointy-nosed parent on a push broom, to set everything to rights. Just like real life. "Sorcerer’s apprentice" fans will enjoy this airy variation on a theme. (Picture book. 6-8)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780805072051
  • Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
  • Publication date: 5/15/2003
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.82 (w) x 11.96 (h) x 0.45 (d)

Meet the Author

Ursula Jones wanted to be a vet when she grew up, and then she went to drama school and became an actress instead. She has written a number of plays for children, but The Witch’s Children is her first picture book. Ms. Jones lives in France, on the edge of the forest of Vaour.

Russell Ayto has illustrated more than a dozen books for children, including Cinderella and the Hot Air Balloon, You’ll Grow Soon, Alex, and Farmer Smart’s Fat Cat. He lives in Cornwall, England, with his wife and their two children.

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