Hollowspine's Reviews > The Witch's Guide to Cooking with Children

The Witch's Guide to Cooking with Children by Keith McGowan
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Aug 07, 12

Read in July, 2012

I was disappointed by this short audiobook. It started out all very well, our narrator was a witch, and she lovingly described her favorite dish...children. She went on to expound on the procedures around getting hold of children for her cookery. It turns out she'd been around quite some time, from Hansel and Gretals time in fact, and had established quite a business for herself. Parents whose children were peevish and rude could drop them off in any number of 'donation' bins located at such unexpected places as movie theatres or call for a pick up and leave the kids off on some street corner, etc.

Our two unsuspecting victims, Sol and Connie, recently moved next door to our witch's very house. You'd think she'd be more nervous about hunting where she lived, but no, she immediately plans an elaborate dinner around the two. However, in an amazing and unexpected twist, Connie and Sol are rather sharp children who have no particular interest in being eaten.

They evade capture after their scheming father leaves them for pick-up on a street corner, believing they'd be lost. He didn't reckon on young Sol's mapquest printouts and knowledge of area busing schedules. Things continue in that vein until Connie angers a librarian. Big mistake kiddo. She is immediately bundled in a handy burlap sack (what librarian doesn't have a few of those lying around for just such emergencies) and set out for pick-up.

I admit that I was rubbed the wrong way by the 'evil librarian.' But that was only a small contribution to the failure of this novel in my eyes.

The plot introduced many bizarre things, such as that Sol and Connie's father was not really their father, the fact that both their step-mother and not-father were relatives to the original parents of the hansel and gretel tale, their mum went missing in some bizarre scientific expedition, and it goes on...tons of little plot snags that are never revealed or even addressed. It was rather frustrating.

Then the novel just ended. Of course, (not much of a spoiler alert here) they defeat the witch, but still have no idea dad is not-dad, their mum is still mysteriously missing and they are apparently just on the road now, homeless wandering children setting off into the sunset. Also, Sol never did forgive Connie for ruining his Science Fair project and framing him for setting fire to the school. What a churl.
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