Monday, June 23, 2008

Old Black Witch!

Old Black Witch!
Wende and Harry Devlin
Parents' Magazine Press, 1963
reprinted in 2012 by Purple House Press

Talk to any used book shop owner who deals in children's books, and they will tell you, this is one of the most requested titles. When I first started collecting vintage kids books, I searched endlessly for it using the words... "I'm not sure what the title is but it was about this witch, and on the cover she was flying out of a plate glass window on her broomstick." Quintessential 70s for sure. Some people have blasted Old Black Witch! and its authors for the use of the word "black" in the title, but all controversies aside, you gotta love those blueberry pancakes.

Soooo, when a boy and his momma buy an old house to open a tearoom, they are shocked by what they find hiding in the chimney.

Suddenly, SQUAWK! THUMP! And down from the chimney fell a big, black mess. It was covered with cobwebs and made terrible sounds. It stumbled out of the fireplace into the room. From its long, pointed hat to its long, pointed shoes, it was covered with ashes. It was a fright. It was furious. And it was an old black witch.

You see, the two had moved into her house, and she was having none of it. That is, till they make a deal, and before you know it, the old black witch is in the kitchen cooking up a blueberry storm and foiling two would-be robbers. My son particularly goes wild when the witch turns the bad guys into toads. It's nice when man and spooky spirit can live together in harmony.

Found our copy for $2.98. A steal for sure!

Also by:
How Fletcher Was Hatched
Old Witch Rescues Halloween
Old Witch and the Polka Dot Ribbon
Cranberry Thansgiving
The Wonderful Tree House


Read along on Facebook, tumblr, Twitter and Etsy!


Hovey Vintage said...

Love finding such amazing treasures! Only $2.98 -- wowzers!

Melly said...

I can't imagine a better combination than a great children's book at an awesome price! I am so glad to have found both of your blogs through Design Mom. I can't wait to have a chunk of uninterrupted time to read through all your posts. What a treat that will be!

Burgin Streetman said...

And I'm such a cheap skate... I consider $2.98 a lot for a book.

Thanks for reading Maddie too!

Desdemona said...

Great blog, what a wonderful idea! This was actually my favorite book as a child, and I still have it, along with many others from the same series. My wonderful, doting uncle subscribed to the Parents Magazine Press for me, and all through my childhood, these fantastic books would arrive in the mail; all 3 of my own boys have grown up with them, and I plan to pass them on to my (eventual) grandchildren!

Anonymous said...

This book was a gift to my sister and I from my neighbor. I believe my neighbor, Marge used to proof read for the Devlin's. She was offered the opportunity to dedicate the book, so she did, and in the original copies it is dedicated to "Susan and Chris on Halloween" I think the Devlins signed the book too, on the same page.

A great book, exceptional paintings by Wendy Devlin and a fun story. Like coming across a particular smell from your childhood that takes you back, this book does that for me. Great memories.

Another book that is really good, especially for young male readers, is "Andrew Henry's Meadow" by Doris Burn. THAT was an all time favorite. I would especially recommend it for kids that like to tinker and figure out how things work. I followed that interest and now teach others how to work with tools and their hands. Both books are great ones. Highly recommended.
Dr. Chris Erickson - Millersville University

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