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Which Witch?

3.91  ·  Rating Details  ·  9,440 Ratings  ·  420 Reviews
When Arriman the Awful, the handsome wizard of the North, announces a contest to choose his bride, every witch in town is a flutter. The meanest, most powerful witch will wed the wizard. But little Belladonna is dismayed, because as hard as she tries, her spells conjure up begonias and baby birds, and not a single viper or bloodshot eyeball. She just has to do something se ...more
Paperback, 272 pages
Published July 3rd 2000 by Puffin Books (first published 1979)
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✨R a c h e l✨ From what I can remember of reading this book as a child, yes it is a stand alone! It was also a wonderful read!

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Jean Menzies
I really couldn't decide whether to give this book a 3 or 4 star rating so consider this a 3.5 that would probably have been a 4 if I was still a child. The book was just straight up great fun! It has been a while since I read a new children's book, that isn't a re-read from my own childhood, and I now realise I have been missing out. The process of reading this book was such good fun; Eva Ibbotson has constructed a really fantastical world with amusing characters and lots of plot twists. I was ...more
Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist"
Aug 18, 2012 Jeanette "Astute Crabbist" rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jeanette by: Cadiva
This was just a ton of fun. Ibbotson is like a tamer Roald Dahl, with a twist of Monty Python. The part about the rats, though? That was pure Stephen King. *shudder*
Sep 16, 2008 Jackie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was pleasantly surprised by this quick read. My daughter told me I HAD to read it, after she had read and enjoyed it herself. So I took it along on a long train trip, and read it in one sitting. While Ibbotson will never win any awards for character development, she does have a way with both words and plot; her turns of phrase continually gave me pleasure, and her silly plot made me laugh out loud several times, drawing bemused looks from my fellow train passengers. A good book for younger mid ...more
This is... this is the jewel of my childhood!
My mum was just telling me the other day how, when I was younger (about 5 or 6, I think), there was a book I used to love. I would always read and reread and reread it again... constantly, apparently.
Though I haven't read this book in years and YEARS, I recently found it in a box in the attic and thought "OMG this is the book mum keeps telling I used to love!" and decided to read it again.

Unsurprisingly enough, I still love it! It brought back many
Serena.. Sery-ously?
Da morir dal ridere!
Romanzo intelligente, divertente, ma anche assolutamente creepy (la scena dei topi.. No commenti!!)
La mia infanzia è stata bella anche grazie a Eva Ibbotson!
Jul 06, 2012 Cadiva rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is one of my all time favourite books, both as a young reader, a teenager and as an adult, I think I must have read it at least 50 times over the years. It was a regular check out for me while at school from the library but, bizarrely, I never owned my own copy.

The book focusses on the white which Belladonna, who is secretly in love with the dark and broodingly handsome Arriman the Awful, the most feared and fierce wizard of the North. He had decided he must marry as he needs an heir to pas
Dec 11, 2014 Amalie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: middle-grade
If you haven't yet discovered Eva Ibbotson, this is a great place to start. This is one of the charming, intriguing, hilarious, and outright pleasurable books I have ever read!

It's about Arriman the Aweful, a wizard famous for both his power and his good looks has decided to marry a witch. From a long list of candidates the winner must be: the fairest of them all the most evil of them all. Belladonna is is determined to win the competition but the problem is she is a distressingly good witc
In elementary school, I read so voraciously that I regularly picked out books from the library based just on their cover art or title or alluring book jacket. One such book that I borrowed from my elementary school's library had a plot that stayed with me, but I hadn't been able to remember the title until one day in the paperback section of the children's library of the main Chicago Public Library branch when, quite by chance, I found the book. It was called Which Witch? by Eva Ibbotson and I i ...more
Arriman the awful, Grand Poobah of all things nasty and mighty dark wizard of the North has had many happy years of blighting, smiting and wrecking a great deal of havoc. But there comes a time when even the darkest of wizards gets tired of the "monotony" and wants to pass on the mantle to a more sinister and deserving wizard.

The great hunt begins and Arriman creates a kindly, three-headed monster called the "Wizard Watcher" for the task. But with not even the faintest squeak of a dark wizard fr
Apr 07, 2012 Rauli rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was inspired in re-visiting this book by my cute little sisters playing witches in our backyard. There they were strutting around the grass sneering disdain and blurting out curses on "unwanted visitors" commenting on how annoyingly good so-and-so was. And I just sat there and smiled, smart little creatures' I thought who at their young age already understood the beauty of a good-old bad guy.Then I remembered this book. I remember reading this when I was about 9 not really understanding half ...more
Krithika Sundar
May 15, 2016 Krithika Sundar rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Krithika by: NITHYA
This book was adorable so thanks to Nithya. Belladonna is so adorkable and I didn't find her annoying even once :) I got transported back to my childhood!!
Feb 17, 2015 Dyah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: witch-and-wizard
It's fun and hilarious.
OH, I'd like to know what happens next to Madam Olympia and Sir Simon! How they will try to kill each other!
Sep 05, 2015 electrise rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: important-kidlit
while we're on Very Important Sorceresses
Jan 28, 2016 Dinah rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Overall, this book was OK. (In my opinion.)

What I disliked:
I couldn't really understand what the book was trying to say. It had some kind of accent or something I didn't understand. But that is probably because it was originally made in 1979. I also felt like this book put too much detail. Like the sentences were extremely long when it comes to describing. I am a visual person but I also like books that would just get to the point. I also felt this book was predictable (unless that was just me.)
It's hilarious, I was laughing so hard while reading it! It's like a parody of all the today's YA paranormal romances. (yeah I know it isn't the intention of the author - just look at the year when it was written, but still..) If I'm to be fair, this book doesn't really deserve four stars, but I'm feeling generous. So what? Does it matter if it's predictable? I mean it didn't stop me from laughing out loud, so who cares?
Kathryn (Nine Pages)
Feb 20, 2015 Kathryn (Nine Pages) rated it really liked it
Originally published on my blog, Nine Pages .


I’ve read several of Eva Ibbotson’s books. Which Witch? is perhaps one of her best known, possibly for its clever title. It was too one of her earliest, preceded only by The Great Ghost Rescue (of which I’d not heard before writing this review). The theme of this book is a comfortable one: the power of love, the dangers of an absence of love, and the power of love to transform a person. It is told with a twist, however. The protagonists are
Mar 03, 2009 Chelsea rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A fun read - silly and sweet, and yes, charming.

I should just start writing "CHARMING" ten times in a row for all of my Ibbotson reviews. I can't seem to come up with another word for her. She's charming and delightful. Go read her.

My work here is done.
Anna Nesterovich
Jan 01, 2016 Anna Nesterovich rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: childrens, fantasy
"...there really was no way of telling which witch was which." I picked up this book because of the reference in the Castle Hangnail, where Ursula Vernon mentioned Which Witch? as an inspiration. And since I really liked Castle Hangnail, I couldn't miss this one.

I guess the author was a pioneer in the genre. Though he book is a bit out-of-date now, it's still not like the lot of children's books. It's really very amusing.

Only four stars is for being just amusing, nothing more. It was a good read
Jun 15, 2016 Ariel rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Cute, cute, cute. I remember liking this one the best out of the 3 children's books that I read from her.
Jan 29, 2015 Luffy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Re reading is not among my inclinations or priorities. However, I had to make an exception for Which Witch?. I read it first about 20 years ago, and I liked it so much that I didn't forget the small details for a long time. But recently I have had the urge to revisit past favorites. That's why I broke my habits and read this book again.

The author's style is ebullient and twisty. Her imagination was spot on. She knew, by instinct, what was appealing and whimsical. The book is not of the fantasy
Apr 26, 2009 PurplyCookie rated it liked it
Arriman the Awful, the Wizard of the North, decides he must marry in order to have an heir. But he can't just marry anyone -as a wizard he must marry a witch. So he sets up a competition for local witches. He will marry the witch who produces the blackest magic -- what he deems as a fitting qualification for his bride-to-be -- after all, as his servants reason, he must uphold his legacy.

The magic has some surprising results and there are questions about the power of a familiar. Is Belladonna a b
Jun 09, 2010 Liz rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kids, 2010
This was an odd one. Honestly.

Being a good witch equals curse. Good witch falls in love with evil wizard on sight. Evil wizard will only marry her if, out of a line-up, she manages to do the evillest thing of all. Good witch longs to be evil. Good witch learns to do evil things, while still remaining... good? Rest of plot shall remain unknown so I don't have to mark this post for spoilers, but come on--what do you think the ending will be?

This book disappointed me for its wishywashiness. And I'
Erin Boyington
Kindly white witch Beladonna has never been able to do black magic, but when the handsome wizard Arriman sets a contest to find the wickedest witch to be his bride, she is determined to give it her best shot.

Beladonna has her work cut out for her if she wants to shake her embarrassing affinity for begonias and cute woodland creatures, but she is helped out in the contest by an orphan named Terence Mugg. Terence owns a pink earthworm named Rover, and Rover seems to be just the familiar to help Be
Jul 06, 2016 Lia rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2016, 1980s
I wanted Belladona and the Olympia witch/chick to battle it on SO BAD. Didn't quite get that, but it was a good, quick read either way, especially with that certain plot twist I won't mention because spoilers. Then again, this book does talk about how awesome black magic is and how black magic is supposed to be evil and disgusting, so spoiling would be evil and disgusting on my part but...the white magic in me just won't do it. I guess I won't be marrying any wizard with dark magic anytime soon.
Jun 24, 2015 donewithdora rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Vocabulary love:
wraith - she's just a wraith
hattock - hattock away
chilblain - chilblain on is left toe
shoal - a shoal of stinging jellyfish appeared
widdershins - it's widdersins we should be going
sozzled - sozzled with the stuff
offing - a prince or two in the offing
frogged - frogged with gold
rheumy - their rheumy eyes
plashing - plashing sound of Sir Simon
quirt - sieved sea quirt
caliph - nastiest caliph
judder - the handbag gave a kind of judder
denizen - nothing
 PuMbA's MoMmy*•.♥.•*
Jan 21, 2015 PuMbA's MoMmy*•.♥.•* rated it really liked it
Shelves: witches
Really cute story! If you liked Harry Potter you'll like this one!
Jul 28, 2009 Tara rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A funny twist on wizards and witches, with dry humor. However, slightly contradictory when the wizard does "dark" magic, says thats what he wants in a wife, and yet really he & everyone else in the book want the "white" witch - it seemed like there was a difference between "dark" and actual evil. The "dark" magic in this book was more like the fuel for the humor, and the "oh, this is what's expected of me." It was annoying at times, though - make up your mind, wizard, do you really want a da ...more
Aug 12, 2011 Kerry rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ebooks, fantasy, childrens, 7, 2011
My next read with Marcus. He chose this over Diana Wynne Jones' The Ogre Downstairs.

In the end, Marcus decided it didn't like witches and we changed to the Jones book after all. But I'd been enjoying the story, so I settled in and finished it. This is a fun, enjoyable little story that yes, is really for children, but I'm not at all sorry I read it. It just has that "something" that makes a book a pleasure to read.
Jan 29, 2016 Tanja rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
After reading four of her books, I am officially a fan of Eva Ibbotson! Just like the previous three, I enjoyed reading this story very much and will definitely look out for more of her writing. I enjoy her characters, settings, plots, twists and turns as well as the way she tells her stories, showing that she must have had a wonderful sense of humor. While I was reading the story, I couldn't help thinking about Angie Sage's Septimus Heap series and J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter as I came across s ...more
William Leight
Jan 22, 2016 William Leight rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Which Witch" is rather silly, occasionally creepy, and quite funny. The two main characters are a white witch, Belladonna (flowers springing up when she walks, baby rabbits want to be her friend, etc.) who would like nothing better than to do some really black magic, and an evil wizard, Arriman (named after Ahriman, the Zoroastrian devil), who is getting tired of blighting and smiting and would like to find a nice flat somewhere to work on his novel. Alas, Arriman has his responsibilities to Da ...more
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The Awesome Young...: which one??? 3 3 Mar 30, 2015 04:10PM  
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wich witch 1 28 Feb 12, 2009 01:19PM  
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Eva Ibbotson (born Maria Charlotte Michelle Wiesner) was a British novelist specializing in romance and children's fantasy.

Eva Ibbotson was born in Vienna, Austria, in 1925. When Hitler came into power, Ibbotson's family moved to England. She attended Bedford College, graduating in 1945; Cambridge University from 1946-47; and the University of Durham, from which she graduated with a diploma in edu
More about Eva Ibbotson...

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“Stupid women were lured into it and assured they would become young and beautiful if they let themselves be pummeled and pounded and smeared with sticky creams, and have their faces lifted and their stomachs flattened. They paid a lot of money to Madame Olympia, who would put a little bit of magic into the creams and ointments that she used so that at first they did look marvelous. But it was the kind of magic that wore off very quickly, leaving the women even uglier than before so that they would rush back to her and pay her more money and the whole thing would start again.” 9 likes
“But of course he knew, all of them knew. There is only one kind of a person a wizard can marry, and that is a witch.” 9 likes
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