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Earwig and the Witch
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Earwig and the Witch

3.54 of 5 stars 3.54  ·  rating details  ·  739 ratings  ·  177 reviews
Most orphanages are horrible, but Earwig has a surprising amount of power over everyone at St Morwald’s Home for Children, and loves it there. The last thing she wants is to be adopted by the very strange Bella Yaga, demon-attended Mandrake, and talking black cat Thomas. Earwig wants to learn magic, but will need all her ingenuity and help from a familiar to survive. Expre...more
Hardcover, Childrens, 140 pages
Published June 9th 2011 by Harper Collins (first published June 1st 2011)
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An Odd1
Illustrations add to delightful sweet fun with a titch of demon dark. Helpful front pages full figure cast. Hairs stick out, eyes bug out, mouths twist expressively on stick full-front people; top margin is crows on thorny line; spiders sprinkle around spookily.

On the doorstep of St Morwald's Home for Children, Mrs Briggs found a note pinned to shawl on a baby she called Erica Wiggs, and never told. "Got the other twelve witches all chasing me. I'll be back for her when I've shook them off. It...more
Jennifer Haight
Earwig and the Witch by Diana Wynne Jones (most known as the author of Howl's Moving Castle) and illustrated by Caldecott award winner Paul O. Zelinsky is a bouncy mystical read for middle grade children. Its timeless in that no pop culture or technologies are referenced yet it reads like an old story partially due to the British food references, (pie and chips) and language choices, (higgledy-piggledy).

Earwig is a confident and controlling orphan who attempts to avoid adoption because she has c...more
Earwig is a happy foundling child, living in a reasonably pleasant orphanage where everyone does what she wants -- until some unpleasant strangers insist on adopting her.

I'm almost positive I read this or some version of it as a short story, years ago. Fine and fun, but not one of DWJ's best by any stretch.
Earwig loves living at St. Morwald's Home for Children because everyone there does exactly what she wants, even her best friend Custard. So why would she ever want to be adopted and leave? Luckily, Earwig is able to deflect any attempts at adoption- that is until a strange couple comes one visiting day and adopts her. Something must be up. Sure enough, the woman is a witch and the man, well, he has horns and demons do his bidding. Most importantly, they don't do what Earwig wants them to. Well,...more
Barb Middleton
Fiddle-dee-dee! A nonsense word for a fun nonsense fantasy. A name like Earwig sets the tone along with a talking cat, witch, and demons. While this book is mildly entertaining and serves a much needed niche for low level fantasy stories, it isn't particularly well-done. On the plus side, the constant tension in the plot kept me turning the pages and the Mandrake is a somewhat scary monster, but on the negative side, there are no changes within the characters and they remain distant and vaguely...more
Linda Bernstein
My favorite parts of the newest (and perhaps last) book from the late Diana Wynne Jones are the illustrations by Caldecott Medal winner Paul O. Zelinsky, who also happens to be my husband’s first-cousin-once-removed as well as our good friend. (I do not mention this to be “transparent.” Rather, I brag.) I love the electricity of the lines, especially the ones that capture Earwig’s pigtails. I love the expressions of the face made so vivid but a small mark or shading. Yes, Paul really did it up a...more
Katie Helwig
Earwig has been at the orphanage for her entire life and she is perfectly content staying there forever. She is the boss there! Her best friend Custard does everything she tells him. When people come to pick a child, Earwig makes herself as unlovable as possible. Usually no one looks at her, but then one day a very peculiar couple comes in. They are actually quiet scary. Earwig swears the man has horns! When they pick Earwig, she begs Mrs. Brigg’s not to make her go because she will miss Custard...more
Ann Haefele
This was a disappointing book as the author has written some well reviewed books. This was published after the author's death which makes me wonder if she would have done some rewriting if she knew it was to be published. It is a story for 2nd-4th graders, and begins as a fun fantasy about an orphan named Earwig who happens to be a witch. She is adopted by another witch who is quite unkind to Earwig. Earwig, with the help of Thomas the cat, decides to have revenge with a combination of spells an...more
Nesa Sivagnanam
This very small book tells us about an orphan girl who is taken home by a witch.

Erica Wigg lives in a children's home and is perfectly happy to be doing so. It's a bright, happy place and everyone does what Earwig wants them to do. She has absolutely no desire to be adopted.

One terrible day, Earwig is chosen by someone looking to adopt a child. Two someones actually. The someone is a witch who comes with a tall, skinny, fiery young man.

The minute Earwig walks into the witch's home her whole lif...more
Earwig is an orphan, and happy to be one in the orphanage where everyone does what she wants. Then the unthinkable happens and a very odd couple come to adopt her. Bella Yaga (get it?) is a witch who thinks she can use Earwig to do her tedious chores, but Earwig is smart, and hard-working, and clever enough to work out a way to make the witch teach her magic. Of course there is a cat familiar, and the cottage where they live is much smaller on the outside than on the inside.

Think of it as Howl's...more
Lydia Shellenbarger
Truth be told, this may end up getting a four start rating from me instead of just three.

It is the simple tale of a girl named Earwig, who may be the daughter of a witch and who has a talent for making people do what she wants. Surprisingly, she doesn't really use this talent selfishly, mostly she just uses it to get the food she likes to eat and to stay happily at the children's home where she's lived since she was a baby. Then a couple comes to the home looking to foster a child, but they don

Aliyah Inge-hanif
Earwig and the Witch by Diana Wynne Jones and illustrations by Marion Lindsay is fantasy book. It is intended for the ages of eight through twelve years old. It is about a orphan that get adopted by a witch. It talks about her reaction to her new foster parents.

I loved this story because the little girl is so fearless. It is engaging for small children to be able to read a keep up with. The font and illustrations are perfect. The illustration may be a little scary or violent to some children but...more
Like Roald Dahl/Quentin Blake pairings? You'll love this book.

Except, Earwig (the protagonist, a young girl) is a quirky character in her own right, which is even better.

The illustrations, humor, and story are pitch perfect.

It's short and simple yet sophisticated - a fantastic option for growing readers and readers in general of all ages.
This is presumably the last Diana Wynne Jones there will ever be, unless she�'s left a manuscript behind. It� s a short (very short) story for younger children, all about a plucky, not to say bossy, orphan, and the witch who adopts her and rather comes to regret it. Vintage DWJ. Far too brief, of course, but all we can do now is be thankful for her legacy.
Earwig has just been adopted by a cranky witch and her peculiar partner "The Mandrake", who is incessantly grumpy and a bit scary to boot. Cunningly Earwig makes it a point to tell the witch she'll work as an assistant for magic lessons. Though the witch agrees the promise isn't kept, which means Earwig will just have to teach herself!

For a children's book it's definitely a bunch of fun! It's a great introduction to Diana Wynne Jones for young children who are still making their way through cha...more
Libby Ames
Earwig has grown up at St. Morwald’s Home for Children and that is how she likes it. She has friends and everyone does exactly what she tells them. Then one day a strange couple takes Earwig away as a foster child. Earwig is not pleased with her new position as ‘an extra pair of hands’ for a woman she knows is a witch. But who is in greater trouble—quick-thinking Earwig or the witch?

In Earwig and the Witch, Diana Wynne Jones introduces a plucky heroine with plenty of tricks up her sleeve. The hu...more
I simply loved it. It's meant for younger children - quite young I'd say from about five years, so despite me missing the age range by a few miles it is just the most enjoyable little story.
A very cute, droll little story about how Earwig’s headstrong fearlessness can outwit even a powerful witch.

This is a book aimed at probably grade schoolers (it barely squeaks in over 100 pages with illustrations). But it’s still fun for grown-ups. It has a vaguely Roald Dahl feel (though less dark than his books). Earwig is quite happy being in her orphanage - because everyone there does exactly what she wants, including her best friend Custard. She has successfully avoided getting placed with...more
Stevie Finegan (SableCaught)
Click to watch my video review:

Diana Wynne Jones – A Tribute

On the 26th of March, 2011, Children's Author Diana Wynne Jones died of cancer. She'd been suffering for a few years but finally passed away after the radiotherapy became to painful for her to continue.

I didn't find out about her death until a few months later, and coincidently, as I sat there staring dimly at my computer screen, reading this news for the first time, Earwig and the Witch popped t...more
I put off reading Earwig and the Witch because it was the last novel published by Diana Wynne Jones, who died in 2011. Diana Wynne Jones is one of my favorite authors and I wasn't sure I was reading to have read all of her books, as silly as that sounds.

Recently I was in the mood for some Diana Wynne Jones so I picked up Earwig and the Witch on audio. It was my first time listening to a Diana Wynne Jones novel on audio and I loved it! The narrator was perfect in her voices of Earwig, Thomas the...more
Earwig is an orphan. When she was a baby she was left at the orphanage and has been there ever since. But she doesn't want it any other way. She likes the orphanage, the people there, her friend Custard and most of all, they do what she wants.
She's avoided being chosen all this time, but there is one couple that seems to have their eye on her.
They pick her and she is taken to her new home. Earwig doesn't like her new home and now has to figure how out to make it so they do what she wants like...more
I know this isn't really the age group of books I normally review, but dude, I don't know how anyone could pass up the chance to have Diana Wynne Jones's last book! She's amazing! And plus, this book is just so cute! I know I would've loved it if I was the 'right' age to read it.

It's full of Diana's typical wit and humour and I was smiling for the whole time I read it. I think I've forgotten how charming younger children's books can be! And the illustrations are funny too. I kind of miss looking...more
This is a hilarious tale of Earwig, a little girl dropped off at a orphanage with a note pinned to her saying "Got the other twelve witches all chasing me. I'll be back for her when I've shook them off. It may take years. Her name is Earwig." Though the orphanage had regular tours of potential foster parents going through, Earwig, who has "a very strong personality", managed to never be picked, on purpose. She liked her ability to get whatever she wanted there. However, a very strange couple (th...more
This review consists of 2 parts: 1. My daughter's review (she's 9) and 2. My review (I'm the Mom). These are excerpts - for the full review visit us at


What I liked and disliked about it: I really liked this book. Earwig is funny. At the beginning of the book she wants to stay in the orphanage, but by the end of the book, she wants to stay with the witch and the Mandrake. I really like the characters in the book because you wouldn’t have people l...more
This cheerful and clever little book is an enjoyable quick read at 117 pages, and Zelinsky's illustrations add a comic touch to keep the plot appropriately light for children. Earwig's story begins in St. Morwald's Home for Children which has been Earwig's home ever since the matron discovered her on their doorstep, complete with a mysterious note pinned to shawl, indicating that Earwig is a witch's child. The first scene of the story has a Mrs. Briggs and her man attending the adoption day at S...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Erin Boyington
Strong-willed orphan Earwig is adopted by a witch and a temperamental man called the Mandrake: she must use all her wits to gain the upper hand in her odd new home.

Earwig has carved out a comfortable niche for herself at the orphanage she's grown up in and has no intention of allowing herself to be adopted. So you can imagine her surprise when she is swept off to a new home and quickly discovers that her adoptive mother is a witch who wants to use her for free labor. Earwig is not amused.

It's ma...more
Harold Ogle
Diana Wynne Jones' last work of fiction is written for a somewhat younger target audience than the last several books of hers that I've read. Like so much children's fiction, it is written about an orphan. Earwig was found on the doorstep of the orphanage as an infant, with a cryptic note imploring the orphanage to take good care of Earwig until the note-writer could escape a dozen pursuing witches, which might take years.

Earwig is very much a Pippi Longstocking character (up to the unruly hair)...more
This is an ideal length for young readers just discovering the world of fantasy - plenty of white space and illustrations, with a brisk, uncomplicated story about a young girl adopted by a witch. Zelinky's illustrations have a bit of the feel of his Swamp Angel books - just look at that face on the cover! The story has shades of Eva Ibbotson and Roald Dahl, with a seemingly dismal situation being turned around by a bit of initiative on the part of Earwig. I wonder if Jones intended to write a se...more
I thought I'd like this book but found it lacking. The story moves at quite a quick pace which is great but nothing in this book seems grounded or thought out. I'm convinced this book was meant to be first in a series for several reasons. We are introduced to primary characters that are never developed or disappear altogether right after they're introduced. I can only imagine that the author, who is now deceased, planned to expand their backgrounds and story lines at a later time. There were que...more
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Diana Wynne Jones was the author of more than thirty critically acclaimed fantasy stories, including the Chrestomanci series and the novels Howl's Moving Castle and Dark Lord of Derkholm.

For Diana Wynne Jones's official autobiography, please see
More about Diana Wynne Jones...
Howl's Moving Castle (Howl's Moving Castle, #1) Castle in the Air (Howl's Moving Castle, #2) The Lives of Christopher Chant (Chrestomanci, #2) Charmed Life (Chrestomanci, #1) House of Many Ways (Howl's Moving Castle, #3)

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