Thursday, June 18, 2009

Old Witch and the Polka Dot Ribbon

Old Witch and the Polka-Dot Ribbon
Wende and Harry Devlin ~ Parent's Magazine Press, 1970


When I first started out tracking down books from my childhood to share with my son, two long-lost titles immediately came to mind. For years, I searched for them as a young adult in NYC, then the miracle of the Internet arrived and I ultimately had a super sweet reunion with both... first with Liza Lou and the Yeller Belly Swamp and then, shortly thereafter... Old Black Witch. Both of which I didn't remember the title, only a vague recollection of the story and what the pictures looked like. (That's why God created What's That Book, by the way.)

Though the stories in the Devlin books are a little vague and underwritten, I have to admit, nothing screams growing up in the 70s like the matching nose/chin action of the stout Old Witch. Thus why her books are often the most talked about and collected of the era. The art is cool and iconic, and the main character mischievous and fun loving.

So, Polka Dot Ribbon is the second in a series of three... and in this story we find our heroine doing what she does best, baking...

Nicky's mother carefully explained about the contest. Oldwick needed a new bandstand and the townspeople agreed that a carnival, with a cake baking contest, would be a fine way to raise money.

"A new bandstand!" Old Witch screeched, "What's wrong with the old one? It's got everything--spiders, mice cobwebs and bats."


Regardless, Old Witch gets cooking, discovers a cheater in the midst and makes all that is wrong right again before she snags a polka dot ribbon for most original recipe.

Really, since she first fell down the chimney and into our hearts in 1963, she's been haunting Generation X-ers with her upbeat anxiety and black soul full of love. She speaks for all of us in that she is anxious, competitive and a little bit rascally, but still has warmth in her heart. She's everybody's alter-ego, bless her. I'm gearing up this weekend to try the recipe on the back cover. Children's book as dessert revelation? I'm down with that.

Also by:
How Fletcher Was Hatched
Old Witch Rescues Halloween
Old Black Witch!
Cranberry Thansgiving
The Wonderful Tree House

6 comments:

Vivi said...

So 70s! Love it. By the way - whatsthatbook = greatest discovery EVER. I thank you and my ever fading memory does as well...

Josephine Tale Peddler said...

You can never go wrong with a witch story can you? My daughter loves them all!

Antmusic said...

Wende Devlin and Harry Devlin are so awesome. I wish I could fin all the books of theirs that I grew up with. So far I've just found "How Fletcher was Hatched," but the search rages on... and on...and on....

Carm said...

I love Wende and Harry Devlin books! Did you ever find Liza Lou and the Yeller Belly Swamp? I still have my childhood copy and I blogged about it a few months back.

scribbler said...

Oh yes I did... sooooo good. Great post by the way!

Jennifer said...

Oh, the Old Witch! My favorite. Do you have the Devlins' "Cranberry Thanksgiving" as well? The brash Mr. Whiskers comes to Thanksgiving dinner and almost gets pegged with stealing Grandmother's coveted cranberry bread recipe (with the secret recipe printed on the back cover, of course). Growing up, my sisters and I received a collection of books and I always thought I was the luckiest to have so many from Parents' Magazine Press. True prizes, each one.

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