Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Humbug Witch

Humbug Witch
Lorna Balian ~ Humbug Books, 1965

I always blanch at books offered up by vanity presses of the same name, so several times, I passed Humbug Witchover at library sales. I suppose because it was nearing Halloween last month, and I was feeling generous, I gave it a second look... and I have to say, it is kinda cute (even if the large, red nose is a little on the creepy, drunken uncle side).

The story is about a witch with absolutely no magical powers whatsoever... which as a concept all its own is pretty riotous.

When she wanted to turn Fred into an alligator,
Or a hippopotamus,
Or a candy bar,
She would get down on her hands and knees
And look Fred square in the eye
And say all kinds of magic words,
And wait...
And wait...
But Fred just stayed a cat!

It isn't until the end that her true colors shine through and you can see the little ghoul for who she really is. Surprise, surprise. The drawings here are all red and black and yellow and do have a nice holiday quality, and the story is a happy change from some of the less-than-happy witch books out there. My son gets a little spooked by pointy hats and crooked noses, so the upbeat note on which this witch ends has gone a long way to dispel the myths about mistresses of the night always being bad. Not all good witches have to look as hot as Glenda, ya know.


Anonymous said...

I do understand your skepticism about "vanity publishers". There ARE some awful self-published books out there. But I'm glad you challenged your bias.

Rochelle R. said...

This book was always very popular at my preschool and other schools. The kids always liked it. I think in recent years that witches are not PC in a lot of schools.

Sarah B. B. said...

This is one of my favorite books from childhood. My mother actually read it to my class of 2nd graders, and they all loved it, too. (Or maybe they just loved her - either way, it worked!) Definitely one that folks should add to their collections!

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