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The Witch Family

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4.02 of 5 stars 4.02  ·  rating details  ·  1,479 ratings  ·  67 reviews
Two little girls who love to draw witches build an elaborate world around the imaginary Old Witch and her family.
Paperback, 224 pages
Published August 1st 1990 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt P (first published 1960)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,606)
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snowplum
Jul 03, 2014 snowplum rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone with an imagination and a good heart
This book is sheer perfection. It has many of the same qualities as Winnie the Pooh and The House at Pooh Corner -- young children who live out tremendous adventures in their imagination with characters who are typically treated by the author as though they are also real, though every once in a while perspective shifts and you see the drawings of Old Witch, Little Witch Girl, Lurie (the little mermaid), Weeny Witchy, Malechai (The Spelling Bee -- yes, he is an enchanted bee who spells everything ...more
NebraskaIcebergs
What a delightful find! Although I grew up reading several books by Eleanor Estes, until recently I hadn’t the pleasure of discovering The Witch Family. This book is a fun blend of imagination and fantasy.

One day, Amy and her friend Clarissa banish Old Witch to the top of an “awful, high, lonely, bare, bleak, and barren glass hill.” At first, I wasn’t sure if Old Witch was real or just a character in wild stories that Amy’ mom would tell the girls. When Amy’s mom tells about a particularly bad d
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Vincent Desjardins
This charming book is a wonderful ode to childhood imagination. Amy and Clarissa, two seven-year-old best friends, enjoy hearing tales about Old Witch and her wicked antics. They also enjoy sitting down and drawing pictures of the Old Witch's naughty hijinks. To them, the tales they hear about the Witch from Amy's mother, are as real as any events in a history book. The power of their imaginations, along with the magic of their drawings, brings the world of Old Witch to life. Anything they draw, ...more
D.M. Dutcher
Excellent book. Amy and Clarissa are two ordinary little girls who daydream about an old witch. Amy banished her to a glass mountain so she wouldn't be wicked, only to come out on Halloween when she is good. But being there is lonely, and the two soon populate the glass hill with others to keep her company: a little witch, a baby witch, a spelling bee, and a mermaid. Reality and daydream blur though, as both the two girls visit the glass hill, and the witches visit them on Halloween.

I wrote in m
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Dolly
This is a very entertaining tale that really captures the essence of a young girl's imagination. The inventiveness of the story evolves as the little girl's whimsy changes, even if it makes little sense. The witches are not very scary, although there's room for the spooky and creepy aspects of Halloween, spiders, hobgoblins, and bad storms.

The story is a fairly quick read and would be appropriate for parents reading with children or older children reading on their own. Since the little girls in
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Tracey
Sep 09, 2007 Tracey rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of imaginative children's literature
The Witch Family was one of my best-loved books from the elementary school library; I checked it out at least 2-3 times a year, I think. I picked up my own copy a few years ago, just to see if it was as good as I remembered.

Amy and Clarissa, two seven year old girls with lively imaginations, banquish (their combo of "banish" & "vanquish") the Old Witch to a glass mountain, forbidding her to come down or perform any bad magic. If she behaves, she can come back down for Halloween. Malachi, a b
...more
Lisa
I have remembered this book for years in bits and pieces and have never been able to remember what it was called. Finally, through goodreads, I was able to find out the title and I ordered the book from Amazon!

I loved loved loved this book as a child, and skimming through it again, I think it would have been a great one for my daughter when she was younger. I wish I had found it sooner, but I highly recommend it as a read aloud, or read alone for stronger readers. I would guess would be of most
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Terry
This book vastly affected my life as a child and gave me a better understanding of who my mother really was.
Pauline
This is probably my favourite book from childhood. I've reread it many times over the years.
Danielle
The Witch Family by Eleanor Estes, is a cute little children’s story about two little girls, Amy and Clarissa who draw pictures of a mean, old, and lonely witch who has a house on top of a house who is indeed actually real. Then, one day something extraordinary happens, Amy and Clarissa send a new member of the witch family to Old Witch who brings her great joy and company. You should read this book especially around Halloween because it brings out your inner child and excitement towards the ho ...more
Christi
A very cute story, but simplistic and just a fun quick read. I'm going to try reading it aloud to the girls (6 and 4) and we'll see how it goes. Like all read-a-louds it will probably need some editing as there are long explanations and I'm certainly not spelling out the spelling bee's conversations. All in all, worth a very quick read but not much more. The children will probably enjoy it though.
Danica Midlil
I was not impressed by this book, which really surprised me since I grew up addicted to the Moffats' on-going saga. The way this book focuses so much on one of the little girls makes me wonder if this was written for one of the author's children. However, the main character, Amy is a bossy little brat, especially to her supposed best friend, the spineless and forgetful Clarissa. Clarissa is so two-dimensional as to be a place holder really. Her part could have been played by one of Amy's stuffed ...more
Jan
Dec 01, 2009 Jan rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: ideally read aloud to young children
This book kept cropping up on my Audiobooks page and I had never read it so I thought I'd give it a try. I think I would have enjoyed it as a youngster, especially if read aloud. The book was so repetative and I nearly gave up on it, yet this is exactly the type of book a child would delight in. I didn't care for the narrator/reader who took the old witch's voice to new levels of irritation. The bumblebee's monotonous spelling of everything he said was clever but felt overdone after the 20th tim ...more
Melinda Worfolk
Oh goodness, I read this too many times to count as a child. I loved it! I don't think I cottoned on at first that the Witch Family were made up by Amy and Clarissa. Such a sweet book.
Kristen
This is a charming, clever kid's story! I don't know how it is that I never read this as a child, but I'm glad to have read it now, and just in time for "Halloweeny" as it's called in the book.

Amy is a brave little girl who, along with her best friend Clarissa, "banquishes" Mean Old Wicked Witch to a glass hill to keep her out of trouble. But when that becomes too boring, Amy and Clarissa write all kinds of adventures for Old Witch, including adding Little Witch girl Hannah, and Weeny Witch Baby
...more
Nancy
Had to add this to my list of read books. I was cleaning and found my version which I have saved since elementary school. A must read for young minds!
The Library Lady
Amy and Clarissa love to tell and draw stories about "Old Witch". But after they "banquish" her (Amy makes up the word) to the Glass Hill, they realize she is lonely. So they send her Little Witch Girl. And when Little Witch Girl decides to fly down to see her human friends on Halloween, Amy and Clarissa suddenly find themselves in BIG trouble!
This is a wonderful book that encourages kids to use their imaginations, has just enough spooky scariness to delight them, and yet has a warm happy ending
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Cindy
Excellent! Very Creative!
Barbara
I'm trying to get through this but it's way too saccharine for my taste. It's definitely a period piece but I'm not sure there's any need to keep it on the branch shelves. Estes is a wonderful old-fashioned writer and I've loved several of her other books but this one just isn't it so far. I'll see if I can get through it.

Finally got through it. Oh well. Nothing great. OK for those who ask for perfectly harmless books for their girls, ages 8 - 10, depending upon reading level.
Jeanette
This was an abandoned read-a-loud. We started reading in the early part of October and it took us 2 months to slog through half of it before finally abandoning it.
My son says he would like to finish reading it on his own someday but it just was not working as a read-a-loud.
Very long and repetitive explanations, not much character and not much plot. Every time I picked it up to read I would hope that something, anything, would happen but it rarely did.
CLM
"Go, live on the glass hill forever, and never come back!"

Thus did Amy and Clarissa, who loved to draw pictures of witches, banish the wicked Old Witch. Before long there was Little Witch Girl and then Weeny Witch, the baby, on the glass hill as well. Perhaps Old Witch did try to be good, but she never succeeded. And in no time at all, Amy and Clarissa were involved - sometimes dangerously - in her schemes and "hurly-burlies."

From the back cover
Sps
Protagonists are six or seven but the reading level is much higher, maybe eight to ten. However, it would be a charming, old-fashioned readaloud. Marvelous and loving vision of children's make-believe worlds, specifically the joys of playing wicked witch.

Problems: very blonde. Very gender normative. Reading level much higher than probable interest level based on the rule of thumb about kids wanting to read about kids their age or older.



H
Actually stopped reading this, as I think I've got the general idea. A bit long and repetitive for an adult, but I think little girls who like this book will love this book about 2 girls and their fantasy witch family. Cute, and will appeal to girls who like "quiet reads." About 3-5th grade.
Amber
The kids enjoyed this one but it was not my favorite Eleanor Estes book. It was difficult to read aloud with the spelling bee and some of the babyish language the characters used. And the story was a little silly... a departure from the Moffats or Ginger Pye for sure.
Katelyn
it is a cute book about The Wicked Old Witch who was banished to the top of the bleak glass hill by Amy and Clarissa two ordinary girls who love to draw pictures find out and more and get the book because I don't want to spoil the story ...
TheLibraryOfSarah
So sweet and adorable! A great depiction of imagination and how it works =3
It is meant for children, but the day-dreaming, fantasizing part of me thoroughly enjoyed this book! That's why it took me so long to read, I didn't want it to end.
Christina
This was cute, but rather quirky. It's the tale of an imaginary witch world invented by two young girls. It was first published in 1960 and the language and style definitely feel a bit dated. However, the kids (8 & 6) enjoyed it.
Shauna
This is Aerie's next book club party book (march 2008) very fun. Two seven year old girls tell stories and draw pictures of a witch family . . . but it is really happening to the witch family. A fun easter of halloween read aloud
Kathryn
Well, all the best intentions but I didn't get this read in time for Halloween. I enjoyed the first two chapters, but I think I will wait and try this again in the future when I can get to the Halloween-y chapters in time.
Jennifer
I loved this book when I was a child, and was pleased to see it work its magic on my own daughter as well. Don't care for the cover drawing on this edition, but the illustrations by Ardizzzone are charming.
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What's The Name o...: Kids book - about 3 witches [s] 8 41 Feb 15, 2014 11:31AM  
Goodreads Librari...: paperback with ASIN 2 19 Oct 04, 2013 11:22PM  
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Eleanor Ruth Rosenfeld (Estes)was an American children's author. She was born in West Haven, Connecticut as Eleanor Ruth Rosenfield. Originally a librarian, Estes' writing career began following a case of tuberculosis. Bedridden while recovering, Estes began writing down some of her childhood memories, which would later turn into full-length children's books.

Estes's book Ginger Pye (1951) won the
...more
More about Eleanor Estes...
The Hundred Dresses Ginger Pye (The Pyes, #1) The Moffats (The Moffats, #1) The Middle Moffat (The Moffats, #2) Pinky Pye (The Pyes, #2)

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