The Witches
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The Witches

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4.13 of 5 stars 4.13  ·  rating details  ·  150,695 ratings  ·  3,245 reviews
A young boy and his Norwegian grandmother, who is an expert on witches, together foil a witches' plot to destroy the world's children by turning them into mice.
Hardcover, 202 pages
Published October 1st 1983 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR) (first published 1983)
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Jessica
Warning: Extremely Long Review and Childhood Storytelling

When I was ten or eleven, I was sitting in the playground at summer camp, minding my own business and reading this book, when one of the playground supervisers came and asked me what I was reading. When I showed it to him, his eyes got wide and he took the book from me. Then he went to the trash can and started ripping it up, page by page. And he washed his hands afterwards, "to get rid of the filth." It was a library book. He was just goi...more
Mariel
Nov 05, 2010 Mariel rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: dancers
Recommended to Mariel by: greedy kid me
I've noticed for years and years that critics love to say that Roald Dahl is "spinning in his grave" over some such filmic adaptation of his works. I'm a curious type person so I had to look up what the hell was in his grave, anyway. He was buried with pool cues, his typewriter and pencils (backup?). Guess he'd need to hustle his way past the pearly gates? I'm kidding! Don't dance on my grave. (Gosh, real critics are so harsh.) If he's spinning I guess there's plenty in there to make lots of rac...more
Michael
I was a very sheltered child.

Or was I a wuss? I was probably a wuss.

For instance, when I was a little tot, Sammy Terry scared the shit out of me. I remember being frightened by commercials of the Nightmare on Elm Street movies, and the one time I inadvertently saw part of a Friday the 13th movie on TV? Fogettaboutit. Nightmares for weeks.

But that all came later.

But this book. Oh, this was traumatic shit.

I was in preschool, probably 4 years old, when the teacher decided to read us The Witche...more
Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist"
The witches of England have a plan to do away with ALL English children. This little Norwegian orphan boy and his grandmamma come up with a plan to do away with all English witches instead. When they've accomplished that task, the little boy is noticeably altered in size and appearance. He doesn't mind, though. He sets off cheerfully with his grandmamma on a grand tour to rid the entire WORLD of those evil witchy creatures.

I've always known there were real witches in the world, because Mrs. Nai...more
sarafem
I would love to know why I am the only person on the planet who did not like this book. I tried to find some bad reviews on GoodReads, but the only one and two star reviews said things like "Bad no like mousey! dlksk djglsk diewqls!" I'm assuming they were in a foreign language and not written by a kid who could not type, but I was too lazy to click on the profiles. Maybe I should learn the language and go live there, where we can all unite in our hatred of this book.

It seems to me that 90% of t...more
notgettingenough

The trouble with this movie, is that we are supposed to cheer for the wrong side. The premise, for those who haven’t read or seen it, is that the witches have a practically foolproof plan to turn all the children of the UK into mice.

I mean, what’s not to like?

You may say I shouldn’t have been watching this movie with a cat. It’s true, the cat and I have never been more on the same wave length. As I sat there biting my nails and screaming at those witches ‘not the soup, please don’t eat the cre...more
Flannery
I did an analysis of the differences between the book and the movie here.
Barks & Bites
This is a dark-edged children's tale about a group of witches who despise children who they believe smell like "dogs droppings". These witches don't hold back their hatred for these "small piles of filth" and at their annual meeting they devise a plan to rid the earth of these vomit inducing creatures by turning them into mice and exterminating them. What they haven't planned on is the ingenuity of one brave little boy who overhears their dastardly plans and does his best to thwart them.

This boo...more
Christina
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jesse
Was at a friend's last night, saw this on his bookshelf and couldn't resist borrowing it. Subsequently spent an enjoyable sit revisiting an old favorite. Because this is an old favorite--my favorite Roald Dahl book, to be exact, which means growing it was one of my VERY favorite books. Technically, it's probably a four star book--it takes a bit too long to get going and far too long to wrap up--but the nostalgia factor kicks it up to five star level. The central mock-RSPCC meeting, with its incr...more
Anita
‘The Witches’, one of Road Dahl’s most popular tales, is about a young boy who gets turned into a mouse by the Grand High Witch of the entire world. Undeterred by this unfortunate turn of events, he goes on to steal the mouse-maker potion and turns all the witches of England into mice instead- saving the day.

I enjoyed reading this book as much now as I did as a child. All the exciting twists made for a very gripping read. For children, I think that one of the main attractions will be that the b...more
Bonnie
Interested in more of my reviews? Visit my blog!

”In fairy tales, witches always wear silly black hats and black cloaks, and they ride on broomsticks. But this is not a fairy-tale. This is about REAL WITCHES.”

I decided to read this in support of Banned Book Week. So obviously I’m a bit behind schedule as this is my first time reading this and I know many of you had read this early on in your childhood. I’m 25 years old and am just now getting around to experiencing it. I positively adored Roald D...more
Sherien
So if you are used to reading fairy tales with witches that wear black cloaks, black hats, and ride a broom, check out Roald Dahl's witches for a different experience. His witches have square feet with no toes, bald head wearing a wig, wear gloves to hide their awful fingers, pupil that can change colors, blue spit like ink and hates...really hates children. They wear normal clothes like normal people. Yeah, creepy, right? In fact, I'm more than certain this book would've frighten me to death if...more
bp
May 09, 2007 bp rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: 5th graders. And their parents.
The way my life is recently, I'd be lucky to be able to finish reading the headline of the Post before having to attend to something else.
So in the absense of any meaningful free time in my life, I will be reviewing books from years past, the glory days when I could actually curl up on the couch and fall into a story. Or in the case of Roald Dahl, through the scary trap-door into bizarro world of teacher-witches, crazy chocolate factory owners, and insects live and chat with youngsters inside o...more
Karen A.
Mar 30, 2008 Karen A. rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Children 6 and up
Shelves: junior-fiction
My kids and I listened to this one in the car. I initially thought that it was too scary. Some of the author's descriptions of witches are very scary. Add to that that they are snatching children out of plain daylight I figured my kids (8yrs and 5 yrs) would be having nightmares. However when I asked if they liked it I received a resounding 'YES'!!! And my daughter finally just told me to bring the tapes into the house so she could finish listening to the story. By then I was hooked as well. The...more
Alex
Man, Roald Dahl is the perfect children's author. He takes kids seriously; there are real consequences for adventures here. His books are perfectly constructed - well, almost perfectly; I kept wondering what happened to (view spoiler) I can't imagine having a child and not having Dahl's complete works available for him or her.

This book apparently comes under fire for being sexist, and I get that. I don't agree, though; after all, the wisest and kindest character...more
Manny
Headlands Hotel

For people who don't already know: the hotel used in the movie actually exists. It's The Headlands Hotel, Newquay, England, and I've eaten there several times.

The staff are friendly and well aware of the relevant history. If you ask, they'll show you the room where the witches had their big meeting and the spot where the baby carriage nearly gets pushed off the cliff. The food is good, and you get a fantastic view over the bay, where people surf in summer. Recommended!
Nikki
My first comment on beginning to read this was: oh, wow, he is really teaching kids not to trust women at all, here, isn't he...? Although I suppose it would help with not talking to strangers -- female strangers, anyway. At least Grandmamma is lovely.

I really love what Roald Dahl does with rhymes. I have no idea how he came up with rhymes that bounce along the way his do. There's a couple of fantastic ones in The Witches.

Having just finished reading it, I am feeling a liiiittle creeped out, som...more
Scott
My son read this twice and a friend described it as far more twisted and subversive than Matilda, so I was curious and read it too. I was honestly surprised at how funny it was and I now know why my 10-year old was giggling at times when he was reading it. It's some serious and scary stuff from the outset - witches all over the world have one goal in life - to destroy children. When I asked my kids if they thought this book was scary, they laughed at me, "What? No way." Kids get permanently tran...more
Kimberly Sabatini
I'll be honest. My boys and I LOVE Roald Dahl books. All of them. Rather than review this book in my predictably gushy manner, I thought I would tell you a funny story that happened during our nightly reading sessions...

For those unfamiliar with the story, a grandmother is instructing her grandson on the multiple ways one might recognize a witch in disguise. While giving this info to my eight year old, he checked me over to confirm that I was indeed, not a witch. When he heard they wore itchy wi...more
Kathleen Garber
When I picked this book up I didn't realize it was the book version of a movie I had seen a few times and enjoyed. I had no idea the movie was based on a book, let alone this one. It was a pleasant surprise. The book and movie are quite alike.

In the book, witches live all over the place and are disguised as regular women. They hold an annual meeting where the grand high witch gives all the witches of a country their orders for the next year. Witches are really another species, naturally bald, wi...more
Chelsea Facison
Dec 07, 2008 Chelsea Facison rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sanhita
I love Roald Dahl's books for children. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Matilda and BFG are my all time favourites. I still read them when I want to relax.
By the way I l-o-v-e his cook book too.
So, it was with great expectation that I picked up The Witches. I was not disappointed at all. Who would have known that the witches look like any other women (he apologises as all witches are women, as all goblins are men!) and you or I may have just been talking to one of them. There is a lot of de...more
83zulu
As you can see Roald Dahl writes very good stories that i enjoy reading. This book is called The Witches. This is a very interesting book. The story is about a young boy. He lives with his grandmother in Norway. His grandmother tells him stories about witches. She tells him witches in this story don't wear the black hats and look the way we would think they look. They just look like regular women, work at regular jobs, and do the normal stuff. One day his grandmother got sick and they had to st...more
April
1. Rating: 5
2. A book review by Amazon says, "'This is not a fairy tale. This is about real witches.' So begins one of Roald Dahl's best books ever, and, ironically, it is such a great story because the premise is perfectly plausible from the outset. When the narrator's parents die in a car crash on page two (contrast this terribly real demise with that of James's parents who are devoured by an escaped rhinoceros in James and the Giant Peach), he is taken in by his cigar-smoking Norwegian grandm...more
Summer Cull
The Witches is one of Roald Dahl’s longer more plot oriented stories. After losing his parents in a car accident, a little boy goes to live with his grandmother in Norway. His grandmother is a retired witch-hunter and she tells her grandson all about the child-snatching witches around the world. As careful as the little boy is, he eventually comes into a run-in with not just one or two, but almost a hundred witches! Although he is slightly changed, the boy feels it is his duty to safe the rest o...more
Brendan =d
author: Roald Dahl's book book: The Witches was one of the best stories i have ever read. Like many of her other stories it starts out with realism to give you that imagery that anyone can see or imagine. I like this a lot in any book cause it takes the average joe and puts he/she through a trial. Also it might be an annoyance to some but our narrator has no name or gender throughout the entire book, which to me just adds to it and makes it even that much better because its just like an insert...more
Ana
May 04, 2013 Ana is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
I decided to read the book "The Witches" by Roald Dahl because it had a nice cover that looks new. I always like books that have new covers because I feel like royalty receiving every new things and I know there's a saying " Don't judge a book by its cover" but I just keep it in my head.

On the bingo board this book covers the category of "a book recommended by a family member". This book was recommended to me by my sister.

The character that interested me the most was the boy and the grandmother....more
Aini Dandelion
Tapi ini bukan dongeng. Buku ini tentang PARA PENYIHIR SUNGGUHAN. Mereka adalah makhluk-makhluk jahat, licik, dan kejam yang jago menyamar sebagai wanita baik-baik. Jadi bagaimana kau tahu bahwa wanita yang ada di hadapanmu--entah itu gurumu, tetanggamu atau bahkan ibumu!--penyihir atau bukan? Yah, kalau belum tahu, sebaiknya kau segera membaca , buku ini, karena penyihir sangat membenci anak-anak dan menggunakan segala cara untuk menyingkirkan mereka- Begitu kata Grandpa Dahl di bab pertama.

Tu...more
Jessica
This was the first really spectacular novel I ever read, and it started me on a childhood of dorkliness and a life containing far more amusement and pleasure that I ever would've had if I hadn't been a bookworm as a kid. I remember walking to school while reading The Witches. Fortunately, we lived on the same block as the school, and there weren't any streets to cross on the way, so the only consequence was being teased mercilessly by my peers.

I don't know that I've reread this book since I was...more
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Too scary for kids? 47 129 Aug 24, 2014 01:01AM  
What do you think about the boy`s grandma? 21 197 Aug 22, 2014 06:25PM  
The witches 13 67 Aug 22, 2014 06:24PM  
JOKES by you 1 9 Aug 16, 2014 01:54PM  
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4273
Roald Dahl was a British novelist, short story writer and screenwriter of Norwegian descent, who rose to prominence in the 1940's with works for both children and adults, and became one of the world's bestselling authors.

Dahl's first published work, inspired by a meeting with C. S. Forester, was Shot Down Over Libya. Today the story is published as "A Piece of Cake". The story, about his wartime a...more
More about Roald Dahl...
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (Charlie Bucket, #1) Matilda James and the Giant Peach The BFG The Twits

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“It doesn't matter who you are or what you look like, so long as somebody loves you.” 1233 likes
“She might even be your lovely school-teacher who is reading these words to you at this very moment. Look carefully at that teacher. Perhaps she is smiling at the absurdity of such a suggestion. Don't let that put you off. It could be part of cleverness.

I am not, of course, telling you for one second that your teacher actually is a witch. All I am saying is that she might be one. It is most unlikely. But--here comes the big "but"--not impossible.”
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