What the Witch Left
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What the Witch Left

4.17 of 5 stars 4.17  ·  rating details  ·  484 ratings  ·  69 reviews
A locked drawer in an old chest -- and Katy and Louise have the key! When the girls open the drawer, they find --
A little round mirror with a tarnished silver frame,
A long bathrobe with a hood,
A pair of gloves,
A pair of red rubber boots,
An old metal box with the picture of a fruitcake on the lid
-- just ordinary stuff. OR IS IT?
Paperback, 128 pages
Published December 1st 1993 by Little Apple (first published February 1st 1973)
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Community Reviews

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May 28, 2012 Meghan rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: People who like magic
This was a favorite of mine as a child and I'm enjoying rereading it for the umpteenth time. There is something extraordinarily charming about believing in magic as a child. It's like believing in Santa Claus and the tooth fairy and that your parents are the bravest, strongest, most perfect people on the planet.

In this dog-eat-dog world, sometimes it's nice to remind yourself of the time when life was much less complicated and lessons could be learned through magic cloaks and boots and there is...more
Two little friends, Katy and Louise, find that Katy's aunt Martha's stored possessions have some unusual properties. They have some fun (but not too naughty) adventures, get in a little (but never very serious) trouble, and provide a bit of minor help to others.

An easy but very engrossing read, great for elementary schools kids. Chew seems to have written a lot, I don't know how I never encountered her before.
Alex Baugh
One boring rainy afternoon, Katy and her friend Louise are hanging out in Katy's bedroom when Louise becomes curious about what is in the chest of drawers stored there. The first three drawers yielded not really interesting, but the bottom, fourth drawer was locked and Katy, as explained to Louise, she was not allowed to open it. The things in the bottom drawer belong to her mother's Aunt Martha, whom Katy has never met. But, curiosity gets the best of the girls, and off they go off to fetch the...more
Linda Cohen
I remember reading this as a little girl. It was one of my favorites and I read it many, many times. Now after being out of print for many years they are being reissued and at first I was a little worried. Would they hold up or would I be sadly disappointed and my memories spoiled?

Well, I can report back that it was just as great as I remembered! Perfect for kids reading Magic Tree House, Junie B and Judy Moody. I know the perfect little girl for this book :)

Buy this title at Powells Books.

Deborah Francisca
I read this book as a child, it was one of the first books i ever purchased through scholastic books in grade school! I could not remember the name of the book and searched for years based on the story line. I found it two weeks ago! Priceless childhood memory! I think Ruth Chew was the original of originals when it came to writing magical books. She led the way for the Harry Potter type stories, more mild of course but ahead of her time.
I loved all the Ruth Chew books as a girl, but this was my favorite of all. I still think about it often---the gloves that make you do everything well, the boots that make every step miles long---just so imaginative! It's amazing that in such simple language, Chew could stir up images and ideas that other authors took long novels to do and didn't do as well.
My main fondness for this book lies in the fact that I read it as a young girl and it’s always a bit of a thrill to find an old book from your childhood.

However, this story is very short and, while it does have a bit of a feeling of adventure to it, the magical objects are used mainly as a source of fun and travel, the way a couple of middle-aged women might journey together on a budget pass. Katy and Louise are also a bit interchangeable; at times it was hard for me to remember which one was wh...more
Bored on a rainy day, Katy and Louise find the key to the mysteriously locked bottom drawer in Katy's chest of drawers. It contains things belonging to Katy’s mom’s Aunt Martha. When they open the drawer, the contents seem unremarkable: an old robe, flesh-colored gloves, a tin box, a broken mirror and a pair of red rubber boots. But when they begin using the objects, they discover each one has a magical power. The robe has the magic of invisibility; the box can locate lost objects; the gloves im...more
It’s possible I read Ruth Chew as a child. She published ahead of my school age. I didn’t know “Witch In The House”, 1975 but found it original, cute, and whimsical. When I spotted “What The Witch Left”, 1973: although I had merely heard of its title, I snapped it up. It carried me away instantly, effortlessly, to 5-star heights! If the other novel was nice: this was ceaselessly engaging, the utmost in creativity, and forever remembered.

As a matter of fact, when I reached a page about rubber boo...more
This was one of my absolutely favorite books when I was growing up. I must have read it at least fifty times. Re-read it as an adult and feel like it holds up pretty well - pacing is pretty quick. The girls' finds and travels are fun and interesting. Would still recommend to a young reader who likes books involving magic without any romantic subtext interfering with a good story about friendship and adventure.
Alex Murphy
Far better than the other book by her I've read and now that I know this was originally written in like 1972 I am more forgiving of the whole calling your mom mother, and other little things that are chronologically moot. I really did enjoy this book more a story of two girls who open a drawer and find seemingly ordinary items. A robe a pair of gloves rubber rain boots but when they try them on they find that the items are magical. Light easy and a little book that I would have enjoyed at a seco...more
Another one of my all-time favorites as a kid with many, many repeated readings.
I read this in fourth grade. It was on the bookshelf in the back of the classroom and I found it and read it and the story has stayed with me all these years. I am going to describe the plot based on my memory of it so...

This girl's aunt leaves town and after some snooping, she and her friends find an assortment of strange items auntie has left behind in a drawer. As the girls explore the drawer's contents, they realize that every item has a unique magical purpose and experimenting with each lea...more
(Genre:Children's fiction/fantasy) This is a book from my childhood. I was reminded of it when my husband and I were reading another book together which mentioned '7 league boots'. I was instantly transported back in time. I am not sure how I ever found this book, but it was a really fun read when I was in grade school. So I checked it out from the library and read it with my 8 year old son. He really liked it, too. I was a little worried how it would go over with him since the main characters a...more
This is another gem that has been stuck in my head for four decades. That's 40 years! That's a long time for a book to stick in your head. Great plot, fun adventures. Glad I tracked it down again using the librarything website .
Jul 16, 2014 Janice rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2014
Another one of my favorite childhood books. I am apparently on a kick to re-read these books. I am enjoying that. This story is fun, and always made me want to be one of these girls, or to have the things that the witch left!
This is a totally amazing book about how two girls are snooping around in their mom's stuff and find magical things like a pair of 7 league boots and a box that ends up with lost items in it. Really, the box that finds lost things was the only part I remembered well from reading this one in my childhood. There's an entire chapter on using the boots to take a trip to Mexico that now comes across as really, really culturally insensitive where they feed a girl named Pilar cookies and soda which she...more
Ms. Yingling
I enjoyed reading the reissues of these, even though they made me feel old. Must say that the treatment of Mexico when the girls travel there is better than I would have expected for a 40 year old book!
Jenifer Jacobs
Lily and I loved this book. Stood the test of time for me! I give it 4 1/2 stars (Lily gives it 100 - I'm pretty certain she didn't understand the rating system/scale). Anyhow, she listened well while sitting still and I am astonished at her comprehension. Perhaps kindergarten will work out ok after all!
Technically not a favorite from my teens. But a def fav from my childhood. I bought it for a dime at a used bookstore my family frequented and read it about a hundred times. Loved it.
Read this over and over as a kid. If i had a copy I'd probably read it again right now!
Good for the magic tree house audience, though it's a little outdated.
Two girls discover magic articles that they use.
One of my childhood favorites :)
Katy's aunt left some very strange things locked in a drawer in Katy's room. She and Louise find that the box, mirror, boots, gloves, and robe are all magic. And they have a lot of adventures trying these magic things out. What fun it would be to find a drawer filled with magic items that can do such things as find lost objects for you, make you invisible, transport you anyplace you want to go, and even make you play the piano like a pro.

This is a children's book probably for 2nd or 3rd graders....more
Innocent fun - my daughter loved this book and wants to read all of Ruth Chew's books.
Jun 20, 2007 HeavyReader rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: people fascinated by witches and magic
I seem to remember that one of the things the witch left was a pair of 7-league boots that allowed the wearer to take one step and go a long, long, long way. I wanted boots like that.

I think there was also a box which could be opened to find lost things. Like if you lost your checkbook, you opened the box and there was your checkbook. (Or maybe I"m making up that item. In any case, I could use a box like that.)
Jan 08, 2014 Sarah added it
This is one of my mother's books that I found and pulled off her bookshelf one day when I was in elementary school. It's absolutely wonderful.:)
A really interesting and appealing book for young girls. A combination of the dark scratchy interior illustrations, the seventies graphic design/printing, and the real, not-real, wonderful magical subject matter made this book a transportation device - definitely takes you out of your everyday environment.
This was my favorite book when I was a child. I must have read it fifty times. The story has stayed with me for decades, though I only recently searched for the title and found it through interlibrary loan. I can't wait for my daughter to read it, and to re-read it myself.
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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...
The Wednesday Witch The Witch's Buttons No Such Thing As a Witch The Trouble with Magic Magic in the Park

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