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The Witches

4.14 of 5 stars 4.14  ·  rating details  ·  178,978 ratings  ·  3,770 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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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
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
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
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
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
⇠ ⇢* Sophie MG
Aw hahaha, this book!!! Roald Dahl was an amazing author, I remember this book was creepy but also fun, review to come!!
Stacey (prettybooks)
This is a short blogpost taken from Thoughts on Roald Dahl: The BFG, The Witches & Fantastic Mr. Fox.

The Witches was chosen as part of this year's Halloween Reads and it was a perfect children's book for October! It was everything I hoped it would be from the very first page. Again, it made me think how spot on the adaptations are – they capture the tone of each book perfectly. The Witches is morbidly funny, terrifying and brilliantly inventive, and it'll make any child wonder whether witche

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
I did an analysis of the differences between the book and the movie here.
Bark's Book Nonsense
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
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!
Ms. Vigilante
Oct 16, 2014 Ms. Vigilante rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
Such a good book! Anyone can read this fun loving tale about witches, real witches! I really enjoy this book because it is entertaining. It follows the path of a boy who sets out to take out all the witches in the world. I like the bond the boy and his Grandmamma have! This is just a fun fantasy tale, it is especially great to read before Halloween. If you are a Roald Dahl fan, this book is for you!
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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
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
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
‘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
Bambini tremate, le streghe sono tornate!!

Questo libro mi ha riportato indietro nel tempo, addirittura a quando frequentavo la scuola elementare e la maestra di italiano ci faceva chiudere gli occhi e ascoltare la sua voce che impersonava i vari personaggi e leggeva il libro… e così non era difficile immaginarsi le streghe pelate, con unghie affilate e senza dita dei piedi…
Rileggendo questo libro ho rivissuto nuovamente quelle sensazioni.

È incredibile come sia coinvolgente questa storia dolce/am
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
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
It was different from other novels of Dahl but I did love it. Especially its ending was a great one..
Apr 05, 2015 Andrea rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Andrea by: mi hijo
2015 Reading Challenge #17. Libro recomendado
”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 Dahl’s writing and am quite surprised that I neve
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
Oh I loved reading this one! I read it for the first time though, but I've seen the movie when I was a kid. I cannot wait to rewatch the movie tonight!
Finished reading: November 22nd 2014
Rating 4

“It doesn't matter who you are or what you look like, so long as somebody loves you.”

(view spoiler)
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
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
Victoria Scott
I'm pretty sure I was the only person ever to not read this as a kid. At least, that's what my friend told me. So she thrust it into my hands, and demanded I read it ASAP. I'm so glad I finally did!
The witches were absolutely terrifying, and completely believable. My favourite thing in a fantasy book is when they have disguises that make you unsure about where they are. They could be sitting right next to you on the bus as you read this... And you'd have no idea. They were described so well, and
Roald Dahl is basically the only author who can write a book for children, which at it's core, is about children being killed. Wonderfully dark-edged and imaginative. I never had any issues with this book as a child. It didn't scare me. The film did freak me out for a while though hahaha
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Is it fair to call this book misogynistic? 26 136 Jul 21, 2015 05:38PM  
YA Buddy Readers'...: The Witches by Roald Dahl, Quentin Blake - Starting April 24th 2015 23 13 Apr 28, 2015 02:42AM  
UEL Primary PGCE ...: Book Review 9 - The Witches 1 2 Apr 27, 2015 11:27AM  
Too scary for kids? 66 215 Feb 22, 2015 12:51PM  
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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 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.” 1366 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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