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The Wish Giver: Three Tales of Coven Tree
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The Wish Giver: Three Tales of Coven Tree (Coven Tree)

3.82  ·  Rating Details ·  2,001 Ratings  ·  218 Reviews
"In this account of sinister doings in Coven Tree, Stew Meat [of Devil's Donkey] relates the King Midas luck that came to three young people, each of whom had a wish fulfilled, and each of whom rued that fulfillment. (A) literary folk story at its best".--School Library Journal. Newbery Honor Book; ALA Notable Children's Book.
Hardcover, 181 pages
Published by HarperTrophy (first published April 1st 1983)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Kendra Parker
Oct 01, 2011 Kendra Parker rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I first read this book when I was in grade school. I remembered being captivated by both the story and the way the frogs in the book croaked, "jug-a-rum." I was thinking about this book a few weeks ago and decided to give it another read to find out what had captivated me so much as a child.

As with many things I have found magical as a child, I cannot say for sure what it was about this book that moved me to ask my parents for a copy of it to call my own (I had to get the copy I read from a lib
Feb 04, 2008 Nutter rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: youth-novel
Don't waste your time with this book. How it won a Newbery I'll never know. Must have been a really bad year for literature. But 180 pages to say, "be careful what you wish for because you just might get it" is a little excessive. I hated this book when I read it in college as part of a Children's Lit course on the grounds that it had nothing to offer children. I hated it when I read it this time on the grounds that it was just a waste of paper.
Sep 16, 2016 Mikella rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
read this in grade 5 and loved it
Jeffery Moulton
I first heard this book in elementary school and I absolutely fell in love with it. The stories are clever and have the twist of being written in the same style as folklore tales like "The Devil and Daniel Webster" and "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" -- a style I absolutely love.

The story is somewhat predictable--strange little man comes to town offering wishes, but the wishes don't go as planned, and everyone learns a lesson in the end--but it is written with such charm and wit and the predictabi
Apr 01, 2015 Latrisha rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: good-books
at the begining of the book they are at a church social and see this tent that had a sign infront of it saying i can make all your wishes come they all pay 50cents to make a wish but the thing is all there wishes are turned around cause they didnt word them right so the first chapter is about rowina and her wish is that people woluld pay more attention and wants to get invited to agatha and eurnices house.the second one is all about rowina her wish is that henry would plant roots but wha ...more
May 04, 2012 Heather rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love "be careful what you wish for" stories. The plot is a little predictable for adults, but this was written for children, and is a five-star book for kids. Not only do the characters' wishes turn out EXACTLY as they wish, but they all end up with what they SHOULD have wished for at the end. A fun, quick read.
Shelby Junkins
Nov 12, 2012 Shelby Junkins rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
i like this book so far and its realy good to
Seth P
ok not the best story but good
Juliana Conidi
Jan 03, 2017 Juliana Conidi rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I remember my mom reading me this book when I was around 6 or 7 years old, and I could never for the life of me remember what it was called until I stumbled upon it today. This book is wonderful, it's entertaining while containing the perfect balance of kid's lit and supernatural eeriness. I honestly believe that this was the book that started my fascination with the fantasy genre. At a young age it gave me a look into a literary world where things weren't always what they seemed and the fantast ...more
Elisa Pereyra-Molina
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Manuel Chavez
Mar 07, 2017 Manuel Chavez rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book but sometimes it was really predictable for me. Sometimes it was funny and sometimes its serious. You get the moral of the story towards the end of chapter 1 because its all about what you wish for and how you wish, but its so well written and creative you want to know what happens to the next person.
Jan 17, 2017 Catherine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I would love to use this book as the base for a unit plan. There is so much thinking and discussing that could take place.
Oct 29, 2016 Laura rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this book. It reminded me of the Mrs. Piggle Wiggle stories.
Jan 24, 2017 Kristen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Quick, fun, and creative.
Jan 07, 2017 Tryn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This middle grade novel was a gift from my friend, Cheri Owen, before she died. She was disposing of her possessions and thought my daughter and I would enjoy it. She said it was a book she really liked when she took an adolescent literature class in college. After Cheri died, I read this little novel and enjoyed it too. The set-up for the story is a town carnival, where a mysterious tent attracts three young people and one adult to purchase a wish card from a vendor. They are all skeptical, but ...more
Owned this book as a kid- read several, several times.
Dec 02, 2013 Mylissa rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013-books
This is a disappointing book. Maybe in 1983 they didn't have enough choices for the Newbery Honor? The writing is fine enough for a children's book but sadly the plot has been done over and over and over again and nothing about this version of wishes gone wrong is particularly original. Maybe it was 30 years ago, but considering the careful what you wish stories of the past hundreds of years, I'm doubtful. I just would like to see a wishes story that was different, it always ends up that the peo ...more
At the Coven Tree Church Social, 4 people receive an offer that will change their lives. Thaddeus Blinn, purveyor of wishes (50 cents apiece, 1 per customer – ever), suckers each of them into buying one of his special cards – each has a red dot in the center, and the wisher makes a wish by pressing their thumb on the dot. They’re all skeptical after receiving their cards, but one by one they make their wishes, which come true, but not in the way that they want or expect them to. “Be careful,” go ...more
May 16, 2013 Gale rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

October is the perfect time of year to read Brittain's fascinating tale--which I consider an introduction to the Hallowween spirit. I was hooked right from the Prologue--which is skillfully designed to keep you turning pages! Who is this shady characer Thaddeus Blinn, who turns up out of nowhere (good), quietly wreaks havor on the gullible community, then slips off to ply his nasty trade elsewhere? Whoever heard of a Church Social with a slick con artist selling Wi
The narrator, Stew Meat, meets a strange man named Thaddeus Blinn in a carnival tent. Blinn claims that he can grant any person's wish. He notices that Blinn's eyes glow like a cat's momentarily, implying that he is not completely human. There are three children in the tent: Polly, Rowena, and Adam. Blinn sells each of them a card with a red spot on it, for only 50 cents each, explaining that all they have to do is to press their finger on the red spot and say their wish and it will come true, ...more
Julie Decker
Jul 05, 2014 Julie Decker rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Thaddeus Blinn is a mysterious traveling fellow who claims to be able to give people whatever they desire. And it's a refreshingly simple process, too: when his customers hold their thumbs down on a card he gave them and speak their wishes, they get what they asked for. But Thaddeus's wishes have a way of twisting people's words, and soon Polly's wish to be well-liked, Rowena's wish for her love to stay, and Adam's wish to stop having to haul water all end in disaster. They soon find it's what t ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Reading is my Escape
What would you wish for??
Thaddeus Blinn
ONLY      50¢

Only four people in town are willing to take Thaddeus up on his offer, with surprising results. Ok, maybe not that surprising to those of us who like to read. We know that granting wishes always comes with a cost and it's never really worth it in the end. But this is a cute story and fun to read.
If I could get the kids in our school to read it, some would probably enjoy it. But, the cover is old looking
Anuva B
The Wish Giver by Bill Brittain is a great read because it weaves together three stories with the common theme that one should be careful with what they wish for. I would give this book a three star rating because it is written well, but the idea is not original. The Wish Giver reminds me of long forgotten fairy tales with the common theme that one should be grateful for what one has. It also reminded me of the movie Home Alone, when the main character, Kevin McCallister, wishes his family away ...more
Oct 26, 2016 Jennifer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: children-s-lit
I read this book years ago, back when I was in the fourth grade, and I remember being terrified and enthralled by it. Even the cover art seemed sinister to me, with the grinning face of Thaddeus Blinn taking front and center. It . . . doesn't hold up as scary, or even mildly sinister, but it was still engaging and well written.

Something about the writing style of this particular book reminded me of Robert Peck, although I don't know if that's a fair comparison as I haven't read any Robert Peck i
Taejas Kudva
Jun 26, 2009 Taejas Kudva rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: folk who leap without looking
Recommended to Taejas by: the curriculum (but I'm glad =D)
Shelves: kids-books
I liked this book. A lot. More than three stars, in any case.

So here's why it gets only three stars. The stories (the book is episodic, more like three short stories with a common thread of causality) are pretty straight forward, relatively predictable for an adult. And, I suppose, I'm really rating it from an adult point of few, with a dash of how much it would jump off the page regardless of intended audience.

That said, the book was fun. The kids with whom I've read it have a blast reading it
JG (The Introverted Reader)
When The Wish Giver comes to the Coven Tree church social, four townspeople exchange 50 cents each for one wish. They can't even begin to dream how their wishes will affect their lives.

I remember loving this book when I was in about fifth grade. I couldn't remember a thing about the story but I remember how much I loved this book.

It held up well! As a young reader, I doubt that I noticed that the story is a cautionary tale about being careful what you wish for, I just liked the fanciful way that
Stew Meat (Steward Meade) and 3 kids in his town happen upon a strange little man's tent in the middle of a carnival. The man claims to be a wish giver--only one wish each, for 50 cents. Be careful how the wish is worded. They pay their 50 cents, and each get a card with a small red dot in the middle. The instructions are to press the dot when they want their wish, and say it aloud.

As each child uses their wish, unexpected things happen that they're not exactly pleased with. While some good may
Jul 24, 2008 Jessica rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Middle Elementary Students
Genre: Fantasy

Four people from the town of Coven Tree stumble across a tent at the church social. Inside is a stubby little man named Thaddeus Blinn who claims he can make any wish come true. He gives each of the four a card and tells them to wish if they would like. Three of them decide on their own time to do it. Interestingly enough their exact wishes come true, but not in the way they intended. They must figure out a way to reverse the magic that has happened.

I thought this was a cute book w
I thought this book was really good and tough people how to be leaders and how to help other friends kind of like being a leader. There were many leaders in this book but they all helped one another in doing the right thing. For example polly kemp was taught to be nice to people and treat them nicely like the golden rule. Rowena Jervis was taught not to love someone by how good they talk and if they have been to all these special places. She learned it the hard way when Henry was turned into a t ...more
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Bill Brittain's tales of the rural New England village of Coven Tree are well loved by children of all ages. The Wish Giver was a Newbery Honor Book; it and Devil's Donkey were both named ALA Notabled Children's Books as well as School Library Journal Best Books. Dr. Dredd's Wagon of Wonders was a 1988 Children's Editors' Choice (ALA Booklist), and Professor Popkin's Prodigious Polish was named a ...more
More about Bill Brittain...

Other Books in the Series

Coven Tree (4 books)
  • Devil's Donkey
  • Dr. Dredd's Wagon of Wonders
  • Professor Popkin's Prodigious Polish: A Tale of Coven Tree

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