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.
How Fletcher Was Hatched
Old Witch Rescues Halloween
Old Black Witch!
The Wonderful Tree House