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Earwig and the Witch

3.58  ·  Rating details ·  1,702 ratings  ·  297 reviews
"I would like to declare Diana Wynne Jones an international treasure," proclaimed Neil Gaiman, Newbery Medalist and best-selling author. In this enchanting introduction to Diana Wynne Jones's magical and funny work, Earwig is a fearless young orphan. When she finds herself in a house of dark magic, she does whatever she can to adapt—especially if it means that she'll learn ...more
Hardcover, 128 pages
Published January 31st 2012 by Greenwillow Books (first published June 1st 2011)
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Average rating 3.58  · 
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 ·  1,702 ratings  ·  297 reviews

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Mar 16, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, middle-grade
Because it is my life's ambition to read every Diana Wynne Jones book. ...more
Is it just me or should there be a book 2? Because there are some unanswered things.
When a young girl named Earwig is adopted by an evil witch and lord of the demons called the Mandrake, she tries to survive with a talking black cat named Thomas. Will she succeed? Read on and find out for yourself.

This was a pretty good middle grade fantasy novel and is soon to be an animated film from Studio Ghibli in the future. If you enjoy novels like this, be sure to check this book out at your local library and wherever books and ebooks are sold.
3.5 stars.
Earwig is an orphan, who reigns supreme at her orphanage. Then she’s adopted by an odd pair, and she goes to live with Bella Yaga, a witch, and Mandrake, something frightening.
Bella Yaga says she’ll train Earwig to be a witch, but in reality makes her prepare ingredients for spells, and clean. Before very long, Earwig and Thomas, the cat who lives there too, are cooking up ways to thwart Bella Yaga.

The humour is light, and the ending felt a little unresolved, but I still enjoyed this
An Odd1
Aug 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fun, fantasy
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
An excellent short novel for any fluent Y2 reader, as a class read for Y2 or any confident reader upwards to Y4. I’m not sure many write as well as Wynne Jones and this short tale is an example of how masterly she manages her prose.

Earwig is an orphan who enjoys life in the the orphanage. She is well liked, has friends and somehow, oddly, manages to get everyone to do exactly as she asks. So when a mysterious woman turns up accompanied by a seven foot men with horns asking for her to be fostere
Zach Mendelson
Jul 02, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
my star system sucks for something like this. this is a the equivalent of a sweetie-cream cold-brew on a summery whatever day—it'll take you about an hour to savour and will energize you with its saccharine wit. goro miyazaki, the son of the other guy, is in the process of making an animated film based on this story. as a big fan of his father's rendition of howl's moving castle and an even bigger fan of diana wynne jones' trilogy under the same name, i was legally required to check this out.

Rara Beretta
Feb 11, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
it seems more like a draft rather than a complete short story.
Orinoco Womble (tidy bag and all)
What a huge disappointment! In the first place, it was a little too Roald Dahl wannabe for me, both text and illustrations. Nothing wrong with Dahl, but we already have him, we don't need a copy.

In the second place, this could have been an excellent full-length novel if only Jones had taken the trouble to flesh it out and develop it. Instead, we have a detailed buildup and then she does something I hate: leaps forward to "one year later" when everything is fine-fine and Earwig already has what
Dec 15, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A quick, fun read for any child who's wanted to learn witchcraft! ...more
EA Solinas
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.

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
Mili Chamberlain
What a cute little story! I was a little worried about what Goro Miyazaki has done to the Ghibli empire with this one but i hope to get my hands on the new movie soon to see the adaptation myself!!!!
Linda Bernstein
Feb 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jennifer Bacall
Feb 28, 2012 rated it liked it
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
Nov 21, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: younger, fantasy
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.
I can't wait to watch the Ghibli version of this. I loved it so much. Such a cunning little brat 🤗 And the descriptions of every scene and character so short, so precise and yet so vivid. I'm at a loss for words as to how Diana Wynne Jones does this. ...more
Courtney Birnbaum
Jan 12, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A rival for Roald Dahl children's stories where the kids overcome some ridiculous situations and crazy adults in silly ways. I'm especially fond of Thomas the familiar. Looking forward to seeing the Studio Ghibli film later this year. ...more
Jul 28, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
[3.5 stars]
Dec 26, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It is like a beginning of a story, not bad of a beginning, but just that
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
Barb Middleton
Dec 13, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Dec 30, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Aug 27, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Ellie L
Having lived in St Morwald’s Home for Children since being a baby, Earwig has grown into a bossy and determined individual... one who perhaps pulls more strings in the orphanage than she ought to. Hoping to remain in the comforting certainty of St Morwald’s, Earwig is persistent in NEVER being adopted, doing all she can to appear undesirable to prospective parents. This is all until the mysterious Bella Yaga and Mandrake decide to take her home; Earwig finds herself having to tirelessly work as ...more
Kaethe Douglas
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
Left on the doorstep of St Morwald's Home for Children as a baby, Earwig loves living there and certainly doesn't want to leave - everyone does exactly what she wants! So when a strange and not very nice couple take her home, to use as a witch's servant, she bides her time...she's always wanted to be taught magic. A smart, sharply funny book with a feisty central character, cleverly and quirkily absolute winner for beginner readers. ...more
Jul 17, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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. ...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.
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Diana was born in London, the daughter of Marjorie (née Jackson) and Richard Aneurin Jones, both of whom were teachers. When war was announced, shortly after her fifth birthday, she was evacuated to Wales, and thereafter moved several times, including periods in Coniston Water, in York, and back in London. In 1943 her family finally settled in Thaxted, Essex, where her parents worked running an ed ...more

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