Brittany Young's Reviews > The Widow's Broom

The Widow's Broom by Chris Van Allsburg
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's review
Sep 18, 11

The Widow’s Broom was structured much differently than the other Van Allsburg books, which is what drew me to it initially. It is a large book that stands vertically compared to most of his other books, which were horizontally composed. This, I think, adds to the Halloween, witch theme of the book, making it seem like more of a fairy tale, and giving it an interesting vibe. The large bold first letter on the first page also adds to the fairy tale vibe. I happen to love Halloween, so this was one of my favorite picture books of all time I think. The cover on the front and the back are both bordered in black, with an orange brown background inside. There is just a single broom on the front and the back, but on the back cover it looks like the broom is moving, which would give the reader a good hint about what the content is inside. Unlike Van Allsburg’s other books, this one has a variety of page styles inside. Some pages are just a full picture spread, with no words. The text covers both right side pages and left side pages, which is also different. The illustrations inside this book are breathtaking. They look highly detailed and lifelike. It looks like the illustrator took a pencil and made the pictures by dotting the page. The shading is beautiful. It drew my eye across the page, and added and air of mystery to the story, simply by the shadowing of the pictures. The story was very well written as well. There was a nice interplay between fairytale and scary story. There is a short introduction in the beginning that describes the life cycle of a witch’s broom, which seems a bit out of place. The ending was another shocker, which I love. I would have never been able to guess that the broom was never burned, and that the widow was the one that gave the broom the white paint to dress up like a ghost! I HIGHLY recommend this book, especially around October time. I am not convinced that there is a strong theme here, but the story is very entertaining, and the illustrations are captivating. I really enjoyed this one.

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