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The Wednesday Witch

4.12 of 5 stars 4.12  ·  rating details  ·  511 ratings  ·  69 reviews
Mary Jane's mother has told her not to let any strangers in the house while she's away. Now someone is outside ringing the doorbell.

Mary Jane looks through the peep hole and sees a short, fat woman wearing a long black dress and a pointed hat. "She looks just like a witch," Mary Jane thinks.

The woman outside IS a witch, and Mary Jane is about to meet her face to face.
Hardcover, 128 pages
Published June 1st 2001 by Hyperion Books (first published 1969)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 828)
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Kathryn
One Wednesday afternoon, Mary Jane's mother has to go to the store. "Don't get into any mischief while I am away," she says. Alas, Mary Jane goes up to look at the pretty things on her mother's dresser and she does, indeed, get into mischief. A bottle of her mother's perfume, Mischief. Soon, a witch with a vacuum arrives on Mary Jane's doorstep, attracted to the smell of mischief! Mary Jane knows not to open the door to strangers, and when she sees the witch fly away on her vacuum, she is at onc...more
Cheryl
I just can't remember if I read this as a child or not. I know I read stories like The Borrowers, and fairy tales. And the author's name is familiar. In any case, though some references are perhaps just a bit old-fashioned, it's a fun story. I love how all the characters had they're own personalities, and how they all learned and grew - even the vacuum cleaner, James. And I'm utterly enchanted by the illustrations - instead of devoting pages to them, the book designer put little sketches in the...more
Becca
I love all of Ruth Chew's witch stories (mostly out of print now). I used to check this one out of the Casselberry Library a lot when I was a kid. I also checked out a book that had a little girl witch who met a little girl mermaid. The girl witch took care of a baby named BeBe and the mermaid took care of a baby named BayBay. I wish I could find that book again someday.
Helena
I used to read this book regularly as a child. I enjoyed it so much that as an adult I purchased as many of Ruth Chew's books as I could, despite that most of them are out of print. They are fun to read, magical, but are not dark at all, and are really great for children about 3rd grade and up.
April
All time favorite story growing up! i think it changed the way i viewed a vacuum for evs...
Lisa Ard
Last night my kids and I settled in, while I read this book cover to cover. My daughter drew at her desk. My son curled up next to me on her bed. That coupled with this easy, old-fashioned, quirky story almost made me want to give it 5 stars. Instead I give it a solid 3 stars.

When a young girl spends an afternoon alone at home, her mother advises "don't get into mischief". Well, of course, she does. She's too smart to let in the witch that turns up on her doorstep, but the cat left behind is ano...more
Linda
I found this darling book again these school hols in a box in the bottom of the spare room cupboard.

My darling mum had packed it up over 30 years ago, (along with my old Trixie Beldon & Laura Wilder treasures), dragged it from Melbourne to Perth and still had them! Bless you and your occasional hoarding!!

I read this at oh, 8 or 9 and just loved the quirkiness of the story. It's not high literature, but the tender detail of the tiny cat Cinders and what she's fed and other minutae of the dai...more
Jackie
I loved this book as a child, and really enjoyed reading it again! It had been ages since I last read it, I had even forgotten the title. I found it at my local library. It sure brought back some memories. The story is really fun and cute, but it is dated. Kids might not be able to relate much to the story now. Vacuum cleaners look different now, witches are not necessarily mean or ugly, roller-skates are not as popular, I am not even sure there are many latch-key kids these days! So, if you lov...more
Hilary
I remember purchasing this from a Scholastic book club in elementary school. I read it over and over -- I particularly liked the innovation of a vacuum-riding witch (so much more practical and easier to manipulate than a broom!). I still have my childhood copy!
Courtney
I read all of Ruth Chew's books as a kid. Great fun, filled with fantasy and magic. A cranky witch, a magical flying vacuum cleaner, and some funny adventures.
C.
All of Ruth Chew’s books are enormously special. She is a beloved author who won’t be replaced. I always take with a grain of salt, outdated aspects of society. It is preposterous to dock a book’s rating for not matching the reviewer’s present day. It stands to reason every book, written in a current timeline, was most certainly modern in its decade. To judge societal alignment, would mean rendering today’s novels out of mode in due course. It is reasonable, however, to critique inappropriate ac...more
Sarah
Oct 16, 2013 Sarah rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: kids
The idea of magical scissors that cut things smaller is so entrancing that it makes up for a lot. Think of how easily I could clean out my basement and attic!

And a one inch high cat that can talk...

As an entertaining bonus, this book was written well before the invention of safety. Examples: to fly high in the sky, you must wrap the vacuum cleaner hose around your neck; it's great fun to swim at the deserted beach with only your best friend, bury each other in sand, and fall asleep in the sun...more
Cheryl Rose
The Los Angeles Library did not have this book in spite of their expansive collection of books. I bought a used paperback copy from Amazon, the same paperback that I had as a child.
I loved this story as a child, the miniature cat and sometimes miniature witch, the flying vacuum, unsupervised trip to the beach, doll house, magic and power in an otherwise average life.

As an adult, while I still love this story, it does feel dated. Example; A paddling from a parent, once widely accepted, I found...more
Laura
read this book as a child & loved it! I had always imagined having a live little person/doll to play with so this book really spoke to that dream
Loralee Barlow
I read this book over and over and over again as a child. I loved it!
Leeza
An absolute favorite childhood adventure.
Carol
I read all of Ruth Chew's books as a child because I simply loved them. So while my rating may be based heavily on nostalgia I stand by my assessment as these books were very much responsible for igniting my love of reading. As I re-read Wednesday Witch some 40 years later it seemed to me that these characters and situations would still be engaging to today's young readers.
Kris
A cute little tale about a child's adventures behind the ignorant backs of her parents (those are always the best ones). It's definitely also got signs of the times-- the mother lets two young girls go to the beach alone, their street in New York is recognized by trees, and the father spanks the child for "misbehavior." I wish the author would have gone a little deeper into the philosophy of it all, letting her protagonist muse about what was happening, but a fun read nonetheless.
V. Gingerich
This is one of the few books my one grandma had for kids, and I read it every other month or so on long Sunday afternoons, tummy full of Grandma's steak and gravy and mashed potatoes. The memories of Grandma's meals may tinge my memories of this book, make it seem funnier and scarier and better written than it actually was. However, if I ever spy this book in a used bookstore, and if my sisters happen to be with me that day, there will be a scandal over who gets it.
Rachel
Before there was Harry Potter and J. K. Rowling was unknown, there was Ruth Chew. She wrote several witch stories, but my favorite by far is the Wednesday Witch. This book captures the imagination and is nothing but fun. I never looked at our Filter Queen vacuum the same way again. I kept sitting on it--wishing it would fly like James, until my mother told me to knock it off. This is a fun rainy day book for kids, but adults would find it amusing as well.
Zoe
This story about a middle class girl in a very normal existence coming into contact with an irrascable witch, a talking cat, and a flying vacuum cleaner is a lovely escape for any young girl who is intrigued by fantasy, but likes reality too. The fact the Chew, the Ava Ibottson of her era, is currently out of print is a shame. Hopefully a publisher will recognize the timelessness of her work and rectify that soon.
Michael Barnette
I checked this book out of the library when I was a kid and loved it so much I pestered my grandmother to buy a copy for me. That copy is long since gone, but I found a dog-eared copy at a garage sale and picked it up for nostalgic reasons. I think reading books like these when I was a kit are why I write mostly paranormals as an adult.
Stephanie
I was a HUGE Ruth Chew fan as a child... her books shaped most of my childhood games and imaginative play...

It would be soooooooooooo great if they were reissued. I can not believe they are out of print - when so many other series continue to be reissued over and over for future generations.
Melissa Porter
I've read this book more than any other in the world, so I must give credit where it is due. I checked it out at the AP library and bought my own copy a year or so ago. Takes me back to the days when I pretended to carry around a miniature witch (and cat) around in my pocket.
Lucy
I would highly recommend this magical book to to anyone who can read! To me this book has a truly magical and joyful tone that will bring humor, too. If you ever find a miniature black cat around you just might have a Wednesday Witch of your own.
Amie
I read this book repeatedly as a kid. It was fun to read it again! The author has a fun imagination, and created a character that was interesting, but not at all menacing. It's a cute little book - I'm sad that it's out of print.
Betsy
A fun read--either as an independent read or read aloud--for early elementary kids. Some magic, a quirky witch, a brave girl, a flying vacuum, a tiny cat--all make for a humorous adventure. I liked the author's illustrations, too.
Nehalemn
I've had this book since I was little and I remember reading it every day as evidenced by the missing binding and the layers of scotch tape holding it together. It's a story about a little girl, a tiny dollhouse cat, and a witch.
Lauren
this book was the favorite read-aloud of a friend of mine when she was younger. i love reading books that have shaped or impacted friends... even if for no other reason than that they'll always remember having read it.
Adrienne
this book, the wednesday witch, didn't really do a good job of grasping my attention. although, it does have a rather slow pace for my liking, there were some parts that i enjoyed. i reccemend this book for 2-5 graders.
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Ruth Chew is the author of a number of popular books for young readers, including Secondhand Magic and The Wednesday Witch. She was born in Minneapolis and grew up in Washington, D.C. She studied art at the Corcoran School of Art and worked as a fashion artist. She was the mother of five children.
More about Ruth Chew...
What the Witch Left The Witch's Buttons No Such Thing as a Witch The Trouble with Magic Magic in the Park

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