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The Little Broomstick

3.93  ·  Rating details ·  879 ratings  ·  135 reviews
A black cat that needs to rescue its brother from a witch's spell enlists the help of a lonely ten-year-old Mary Smith.

It is Tib the black cat who leads Mary to the strange flower in the woods. When she discovers a little broomstick shortly afterwards, she is astonished to feel it jump in to action. Before she can gather her wits, it is whisking her over the treetops,
Paperback, 160 pages
Published 2006 by Hodder Children's Books (first published 1971)
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Average rating 3.93  · 
Rating details
 ·  879 ratings  ·  135 reviews

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Jun 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: librarybooks
Mary Smith is a young 10 year old girl who is spending the Summer in the country with her great aunt Charlotte. Bored out of her wits, she finds a black cat. Following it , she finds a mysterious flower called a fly by night also known as the witch's flower. Will this lead her to adventure? Read on and find out for yourself

This was a pretty good read and my first ever novel by Mary Stewart. If you enjoy magical stories like this, check this book out at your local library and wherever books are
Jan 16, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy, younger
Wanted to read this before the screen version comes around.
Sep 22, 2007 rated it it was amazing
The cover of the book shows a nice little girl and her kitty, and a cute title --you think you know what you're getting. But don't judge this book by its cover. Mary Stewart is great at suspense and unsettling moods, and she continues this in one of her few children's books, published in 1972. Her boarding school for young witches is nothing like J.K. Rowlings' wondrous Hogwarts school. It's more of a cross between mad scientist's laboratory and Dracula's castle. Not a place to linger. A chase ...more
Barry Haworth
Mar 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I was inspired to reread this book by the recent news of the movie "Mary and the Witch's Flower" coming out later this year by Studio Ponoc, an offshoot of the famous Studio Ghibli. It is many years since I read it last, but the book was just as I remembered it, a charming little children's book about a magical adventure. There are spells and enchantments, flying broomsticks and a school of magic, but this is definitely not Harry Potter, being a quite different view of magic and the people who ...more
"Even her name was plain. Mary Smith. Nothing could have been more depressing, she thought; to be plain, to be ten, and to be alone, staring out of her bedroom window on a gray autumn day, and to be called Mary Smith."

So begins this magical, swift read about a young British girl, Mary Smith, bored staying with her elderly aunt in the country while her parents are away for work in the US. But soon Tib, a charming and mysterious cat, leads her to a patch of fly-by-night flowers in the woods, and
Nov 28, 2008 rated it it was amazing
A girl follows a black cat to a magic broomstick and finds herself whisked away to a school for witches.

Appropriate for ages 8-12

This was one of my favorite books when I was about 9. The story tells of Mary, a girl who is parked with two elderly aunts. In the garden, she finds a black cat who leads her to a purple flower, which the gardener tells her is a "Fly-by-Night". Mary accidentally rubs the juice from the flower onto a broom handle and is whisked away to a school for witches, run by an
May 12, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: home-library
I've always loved this book and even as an adult I enjoyed reading it again. I especially love that my copy has an "ad" for ordering a Helibroom from Harrods in London. I've always wanted to write them and ask if a lot of children tried to buy one when the book first came out.
Very enjoyable and magical with a beautiful descriptive touch. Lacked a bit in plot though, which led to an unsatisfying ending. A remarkable example of how tastes have changed in children's fantasy - in contemporary works, the magic is rarely 'given up' at the end.

Curious to see what Studio Ponoc do with this, it reads like a Ghibli film already but could definitely be fleshed out a lot more.
Sep 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I read this book as a child and loved it. I've been looking for it for years and couldn't remember the title, only the opening line: "Even her name was plain." Thanks to a google search and a second hand store I finally remembered the title got my hands on a copy. This is everything a children's book should be. I imagine if it were pitched today, there would be cries of "too much telling!" and so forth. But I think it's perfect.
ספרן הלילה
Oct 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing
What is it about those oldies, that drew me to them, as a child, and keeps them in my heart?
I know that this review isn't very informative, but it comes from the feels. If you grew up in the 80 and before, this book will transport you back in time to those times of sense of wonder and happy naïveté.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-finnish
There will be an anime film based on this book and the library had it, so I decided to read it. And what a charming book it is! I'm sure the anime will be too.
Anyway, it's an adventure with magic and cats and the main character, Mary, is clever and brave. I'd say it's a perfect kind of children's book. And because it was fun to read as adult too, even more so it's a good book. I really liked Mary, she's young but not bratty. Also: the book gets bonus points for cats! The text is quick to read
Nov 27, 2007 rated it liked it
Janet recommended this--I read it in the middle of the night last night when I couldn't sleep, which seemed appropriate.

It definitely has that mid-century British children's fantasy thing going on, with kids being left to stay in elderly houses with elderly relatives and finding their way into fantastical situations. But the writing is really unusual, very sensual and poetic in the descriptions, and not in an annoying way.

The other thing that struck me about this, in a post-Harry Potter world,
Feb 11, 2018 rated it liked it
I read most of Mary Stewart's 'suspenseful romances' in my youth but didn't know this children's book existed until I saw the beautiful Japanese film adaptation 'Mary and the witch's flower.' how did this story published in 1972 make it halfway around the world to studio ponoc? that is another mystery in itself
Jan 22, 2008 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: juvenile
After reading the Harry Potter books, to read something similar, but simpler, made for a nice comparison. The Little Broomstick is adorable. But the comparisons between the Rowling Books and the 1971 title by Mary Stewart are good for a discussion topic.
Jan 26, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this because I saw Mary and the Witch’s Flower, and I was curious about the adaptation. I have to say I actually preferred the movie. The book seemed thrown together, and a major point in the beginning about how Mary felt she was “plain,” was never followed though.
Mar 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
A charmer! I heard that Studio Ghibli is making a film of this and checked my TBR shelves and there this was. It will make a delightful movie and was an enjoyable read.
Oct 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: childrens, fantasy
Very cute, quick read!

Reading this before the movie Mary and the Witch's Flower comes out next year.

Jannah (Cloud Child)
Didn't know this book existed until after I watched the anime movie Mary Majo no Hana / Mary and the Witch's Flower. Though the movie was a beautiful piece of work in its style, the plot and characterisation were pretty lacking and so I hunted this up in hopes it would be a better story.
Its a middle grade adventure rather quiet but still maintaining a charm and adding many missing details and filling some of the character gaps. Mary in the movie was rather headstrong and foolish not thinking
Jennie Louwes
Oct 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book was delightful. It was an easy read that kept my 11.5 and 10.5 year olds spell bound. A book filled with rich imagery that makes the reader's imagination come alive. Worthy of 4 stars.

You will sail amongst clouds, you will walk within dark corridors; you may end up believing in magic and of things things not normally seen. Your heart may race as you're being chased; but, just when all seems lost, you'll make your escape.

A neat and tidy book from beginning to end. Just enough mystery
Fi's Journey
*3.5 stars

The Little Broomstick is a classic fantasy from 1971 that I mostly read because I saw that it was the inspiration for the anime film "Mary and the Witch's Flower" by Studio Ponoc.
So, I thought I want to read this before watching the anime and see what the differences are between them.

I enjoyed the story though I thought the pace was a bit slow in the beginning and only starts to pick up between chapter 3 to 4. To me it was a bit short, it could have been better fleshed out and needed
Brian James
Aug 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In that magical time when summer has come to an end, but Fall has not quite begun in earnest, ten-year old Mary Smith is sent to the countryside to spend time with her Great-Aunt Charlotte...and it is perhaps the most BORING and dreadful thing that ten-year old Mary could imagine. That is, until she discovers a strange flower, an old broomstick, and a black cat that leads her on the adventure of a lifetime.

The beauty of this story is it's sparse prose and tight narrative. Every sentence is
Apr 07, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is such a cute story! I knew that I wanted to read it as soon as I saw the movie Mary and the Witch's flower and found out that it was based on this book. I enjoyed the movie just as much as reading this book although there were quite a few differences. This is a great story for children but I also enjoyed it very much as an adult. Mary and Tib certainly have quite the adventure!
Karen Clements
Oct 14, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was an old favorite of mine. I recently learned that it had been made into a anime movie called Mary and the Witch's Flower. I didn't care much for the film adaptation, which I thought was poorly done. The book is as charming as I remembered from my childhood. Recommended
Becca Hunter
Sep 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Such a delightful little book, set partly in Shropshire and partly in the magical Endor College. Perfect for Autumn with magical descriptions of the woodlands in September - loved it
May 07, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An enjoyable and fairly short read.
Dominic Carlin
Apr 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
This was dead fun and surprisingly well written and a lovely enjoyable short read as I try to keep up with my Goodreads readings challenge target.
Laura Harrison
Jan 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is how you write a children's book. I read this back in the early 70's when I was a child. It is one of the most perfect books I have ever read. I believe it is out of print. For all of you aspiring writer's-try to score an old copy if possible. Take the writing to heart and learn from it. New generations of readers will thank you for it. New York Review Children's Collection-reissue! Please!
May 08, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this book after seeing the anime adaptation of the story in the cinema, having not heard of it before.

This is a lovely book for children about magic and friendship. When young Mary happens upon a broomstick and a magical flower it sets off a chain of events which lead her through the clouds and into a world of spells. Unfortunately not everyone she meets is good, and Mary must use all her magical ability to make it back home with her black cat and their friends.

The Little Broomstick is
Nov 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As a child, I loved this book. I re-read it often, along with The Witch of Blackbird Pond and two Madeline L'Engle series (the original Time trio, the Austins). As I recall, it's an odd story, kind of creepy and uncertainly resolved. But I suppose that was part of the appeal. It may appeal to some fans of Harry Potter and other magical series who are looking for more witchcraft and moral ambiguity.
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the Goodreads database with this name. See this thread for more information.

Lady Mary Stewart, born Mary Florence Elinor Rainbow, was a popular English novelist, and taught at the school of John Norquay elementary for 30 to 35 years.

She was one of the most widely read fiction writers of our time. The author of twenty novels, a volume of poetry,