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Earwig and the Witch

3.53  ·  Rating Details ·  1,016 Ratings  ·  206 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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(showing 1-30 of 2,093)
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An Odd1
Sep 17, 2013 An Odd1 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy, fun, fan
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
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
Aug 27, 2011 Marika rated it really liked it
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
Dec 13, 2012 Barb Middleton rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
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
Feb 29, 2012 Linda Bernstein rated it it was amazing
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
Mar 15, 2013 Ann Haefele rated it liked it
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
Dec 29, 2011 Nesa Sivagnanam rated it it was amazing
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
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
Ea Solinas
Apr 28, 2015 Ea Solinas rated it liked it
Let's pause and bow our heads for a moment. A few years ago, we lost one of the greatest fantasy authors, Diana Wynne-Jones.

Before she passed away, Jones wrote one last book containing the usual things you would expect: an irrepressible orphan, a witch, spells, a cat, and lots of magical forces. But sadly, "Earwig and the Witch" is not really up to Jones' usual brilliance -- it's a fun book, but it feels like an unfinished draft that ends abruptly, without dealing with all the plot threads.

Dec 30, 2014 Aelvana rated it did not like it
Earwig is perfectly happy living in the orphanage where she grew up. So it comes as a nasty surprise when a couple actually wants to take her home with them. But Earwig is determined to come out on top, whatever it takes.

This was a little below the age range I usually read, so the story was overly simple for my tastes. Earwig is a strong-willed child who has figured out how to wrap the world around her fingers. Naturally, she's not happy when a witch takes her home. The witch's house offers no e
Dec 15, 2014 Hollowspine rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
When you're feeling down, nothing quite fits the bill like Diana Wynne Jones. Listening to this wonderful audiobook narrated by Charlotte Parry was fun and comforting, bringing me a feeling of childhood once again.

Earwig is one of the many orphans at St. Morwald's Home for Children, but she has the very special talent of getting everyone to do exactly what she wants, so life isn't so bad. In fact, Earwig likes St. Morwald's, when she wants shepard's pie for lunch she can get the cook to make it,
Aug 22, 2014 Lydia rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Apr 03, 2012 Abi rated it really liked it
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.
Jul 17, 2011 Hilary rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, fantasy, juvenile
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.
Diana Wynne Jones is one of my absolute favorite authors. Earwig and the Witch was actually a new read for me, and quite the fun story it was as well. It’s a shorter story than most of hers, only 6 chapters, if I recall correctly (I’m not bothering to look right now), but told with all her usual aplomb. The plot is also a bit simpler, making this accessible to a younger (say upper elementary, perhaps?) audience. I think what struck me most about this story is that the main character is, in a sen ...more
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
Jul 10, 2014 Miriam rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, younger
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.
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
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.
Oct 28, 2014 Xander rated it liked it
Shelves: 2014
I loved her writing and the story premise, but when it was all over I felt like very little had happened. True, it is a short children's book with illustrations, and there were lots of fun elements to the storytelling and characterization, yet something was missing in its resolution for me.

Again, as I'm finding with a lot of children's books, I believe that a younger me would have enjoyed this story a lot more. Based on what I was reading when I was younger, I would recommend this book up to th
Dec 28, 2012 Bonnie rated it it was amazing
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
Stevie Finegan (SableCaught)
Aug 24, 2011 Stevie Finegan (SableCaught) rated it it was amazing
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
Sep 17, 2012 bella rated it it was amazing
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
Mar 28, 2013 Eden rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-i-own, reviewed
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
Aug 18, 2011 Cicely rated it really liked it
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
Mar 14, 2012 Jackie rated it really liked it
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
Apr 22, 2012 Renee rated it it was amazing
Shelves: kids-books
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
May 03, 2012 LJ rated it liked it
Shelves: juvenile-books
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
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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...

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