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The Witch Family

(Amy and Clarissa #1)

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4.07  ·  Rating details ·  2,697 ratings  ·  122 reviews
Banished! Old Witch likes nothing better than to fly about on her broomstick crying ?Heh-Heh!? and casting abracadabras, but now she has been sent away? by two young girls. Amy and Clarissa love to tell stories about Old Witch?until one day they decide she is just too mean and wicked. Drawing a rickety old house upon a barren glass hill, the girls exile Old Witch there wit ...more
Audio CD, 0 pages
Published May 1st 2007 by Listen & Live Audio (first published 1960)
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Alexis I don't think its particularly scary for young readers because there is always a sense that the wicked witch cant get you. That good always wins. The …moreI don't think its particularly scary for young readers because there is always a sense that the wicked witch cant get you. That good always wins. The amount of humour is distracting from any potentially scary parts. Unless the child is very easily scared then this book should be just fine.(less)
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Average rating 4.07  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,697 ratings  ·  122 reviews


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snowplum
Jul 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone with an imagination and a good heart
This book is sheer perfection. It has many of the same qualities as Winnie the Pooh and The House at Pooh Corner -- young children who live out tremendous adventures in their imagination with characters who are typically treated by the author as though they are also real, though every once in a while perspective shifts and you see the drawings of Old Witch, Little Witch Girl, Lurie (the little mermaid), Weeny Witchy, Malechai (The Spelling Bee -- yes, he is an enchanted bee who spells everything ...more
Cheryl
Mar 21, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: to-enjoy-again
Bewitching. Two imaginative little girls, almost seven, create Old Witch & carry her through a year of adventures, of trying to be Good. Estes knows children. I think Malachi is my favorite character, though I would have loved to get to know Father, who gave 'the spelling bee' that name.

As another reviewer points out, this isn't necessarily a Halloween story. But of course if you're looking for a good family read-aloud that week, you could do worse than this!
...more
Susanna - Censored by GoodReads
If 7 or 8-year-old me is rating this, it's at least 4 stars. A classic Halloween read for kids.
Lisa
Aug 04, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kids
I have remembered this book for years in bits and pieces and have never been able to remember what it was called. Finally, through goodreads, I was able to find out the title and I ordered the book from Amazon!

I loved loved loved this book as a child, and skimming through it again, I think it would have been a great one for my daughter when she was younger. I wish I had found it sooner, but I highly recommend it as a read aloud, or read alone for stronger readers. I would guess would be of most
...more
Sayeeda
May 12, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
nothing made sense till the very end i did not like it
Kathryn
I completely loved this! It's been on my to-read list for ages and I'm so happy I finally read it. This was my perfect Halloween-y read. Mostly sweet, with just the right amount of delightful spookiness here and there. I found it bewitching and adorable and wonderfully imaginative. I know I would have loved to be friends with Amy when I was a little girl. I also loved Clarissa. Their interactions with one anther are so completely spot-on. Estes so perfectly captures that incredible ability child ...more
D.M. Dutcher
Nov 22, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: children-s, fantasy
Excellent book. Amy and Clarissa are two ordinary little girls who daydream about an old witch. Amy banished her to a glass mountain so she wouldn't be wicked, only to come out on Halloween when she is good. But being there is lonely, and the two soon populate the glass hill with others to keep her company: a little witch, a baby witch, a spelling bee, and a mermaid. Reality and daydream blur though, as both the two girls visit the glass hill, and the witches visit them on Halloween.

I wrote in m
...more
The Library Lady
Sep 27, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: old-favorites
Amy and Clarissa love to tell and draw stories about "Old Witch". But after they "banquish" her (Amy makes up the word) to the Glass Hill, they realize she is lonely. So they send her Little Witch Girl. And when Little Witch Girl decides to fly down to see her human friends on Halloween, Amy and Clarissa suddenly find themselves in BIG trouble!
This is a wonderful book that encourages kids to use their imaginations, has just enough spooky scariness to delight them, and yet has a warm happy ending
...more
Beth
Jul 21, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
I’m surprised I never read this growing up! On the surface it’s a very simple story, full of jokes about language I would have loved. I think it could have been the first book I ever read where really it was all a fantasy or a dream, though. I think that’s really what’s going on, and all the literal spelling bees and rule constraints are manifestations of that.

I find this kind of scattered and unfocused now, but I think I would have found it compelling back when I was in, say, second grade.
Tracey
Sep 05, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of imaginative children's literature
The Witch Family was one of my best-loved books from the elementary school library; I checked it out at least 2-3 times a year, I think. I picked up my own copy a few years ago, just to see if it was as good as I remembered.

Amy and Clarissa, two seven year old girls with lively imaginations, banquish (their combo of "banish" & "vanquish") the Old Witch to a glass mountain, forbidding her to come down or perform any bad magic. If she behaves, she can come back down for Halloween. Malachi, a bumbl
...more
Nadia
Jan 14, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Terry ~ Huntress of Erudition
This book vastly affected my life as a child and gave me a better understanding of who my mother really was.
Francie
A sweet children's story with charming illustrations. Although I am sure that I would have liked it as a child, it did not really catch me as an adult without the benefit of any nostalgia.
Unacra
Feb 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book vastly affected my life as a child and gave me a better understanding of who my mother really was.
Dolly
Oct 17, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: parents reading with their children
This is a very entertaining tale that really captures the essence of a young girl's imagination. The inventiveness of the story evolves as the little girl's whimsy changes, even if it makes little sense. The witches are not very scary, although there's room for the spooky and creepy aspects of Halloween, spiders, hobgoblins, and bad storms.

The story is a fairly quick read and would be appropriate for parents reading with children or older children reading on their own. Since the little girls in
...more
Vincent Desjardins
This charming book is a wonderful ode to childhood imagination. Amy and Clarissa, two seven-year-old best friends, enjoy hearing tales about Old Witch and her wicked antics. They also enjoy sitting down and drawing pictures of the Old Witch's naughty hijinks. To them, the tales they hear about the Witch from Amy's mother, are as real as any events in a history book. The power of their imaginations, along with the magic of their drawings, brings the world of Old Witch to life. Anything they draw, ...more
Jan
Dec 01, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: ideally read aloud to young children
This book kept cropping up on my Audiobooks page and I had never read it so I thought I'd give it a try. I think I would have enjoyed it as a youngster, especially if read aloud. The book was so repetative and I nearly gave up on it, yet this is exactly the type of book a child would delight in. I didn't care for the narrator/reader who took the old witch's voice to new levels of irritation. The bumblebee's monotonous spelling of everything he said was clever but felt overdone after the 20th tim ...more
CLM
Dec 01, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Go, live on the glass hill forever, and never come back!"

Thus did Amy and Clarissa, who loved to draw pictures of witches, banish the wicked Old Witch. Before long there was Little Witch Girl and then Weeny Witch, the baby, on the glass hill as well. Perhaps Old Witch did try to be good, but she never succeeded. And in no time at all, Amy and Clarissa were involved - sometimes dangerously - in her schemes and "hurly-burlies."

From the back cover
Jeanette
This was an abandoned read-a-loud. We started reading in the early part of October and it took us 2 months to slog through half of it before finally abandoning it.
My son says he would like to finish reading it on his own someday but it just was not working as a read-a-loud.
Very long and repetitive explanations, not much character and not much plot. Every time I picked it up to read I would hope that something, anything, would happen but it rarely did.
Judy
Feb 22, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: holiday-a-k
Rating: 3.5 stars

This is the only story I've read that is based on a child's imaginative play. Not only does one very inventive child (6-year-old Amy) create the members of the witch family, she also imagines their home life, and their behaviors. As the story unfolds, the tale moves smoothly from Amy's world, to the witch world, and sometimes the two worlds overlap.

While I think the story is ingenious, I couldn't stay with it very long. It definitely deserves a young audience.
TheLibraryOfSarah
So sweet and adorable! A great depiction of imagination and how it works =3
It is meant for children, but the day-dreaming, fantasizing part of me thoroughly enjoyed this book! That's why it took me so long to read, I didn't want it to end.
Andy Murphy-Williams
I read this when I was little, and I *still* wish I had a best friend who was a witch. A great book that shows how much power your own imagination has. This book, and "Which Witch" by Eva Ibbotsen have the same kind of feel - a bit dark, a bit goth, but ultimately uplifting.
Sally
Mar 15, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: children-fiction
A real favorite which charmingly captures the mentality of young kids; I used to read it every Halloween to the family -- even my husband would come in to hear it.
Pauline
Jun 16, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: my-favs
This is probably my favourite book from childhood. I've reread it many times over the years.
Elise
Feb 23, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Cute premise, with the real girls and the imaginary witch family they created; I like that. It's a pretty easy read, but after a while I wasn't very engaged.
QNPoohBear
Amy and Clarissa are almost-7-year-old best friends living in Washington, DC. They love to draw and listen to stories about a horrid old witch. Amy decides the witch has been bad enough and needs to be "banquished" to a glass hill where nothing grows. If the witch is good, she can come down for Halloween - one night only. Old witch is kept in line by Malachai, the spelling bee and letters from Amy. Then Amy feels old witch might be lonely and sends a little witch girl and a little witch cat. The ...more
Alexis
Jan 30, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Witch Family follows two best friends named Amy and Clarissa who have ‘banquished’ the Old Wicked Witch to a house on a glass hill where she has to learn to be good or else, she wont be allowed out on Halloween. Amy in particular controls the narrative and has a bumblebee that spells out words watching the witch to see if she behaves. Through their drawings the little girls slowly add things to the Old Witches world when she gets lonely. They give her a Little Witch, whom she comes to love, ...more
Melissa
4 stars. This is the story of Amy and her friend, Clarissa, who are six years old and who draw an entire family of witches into existence. They're your stereotypical blond little girls but Amy, at least, is a bit bloody-minded. Together they've decided that the Wicked Old Witch is to be "banquished" (banished and vanquished) to the top of a glass mountain and forbidden to come down except at Halloween provided she has been good. Not satisfied, Amy decides that the two of them should draw various ...more
Becca
May 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
So imagine you put Harold and the purple crayon, and The Girl who drank the Moon, and Junie B Jones into a blender.
Like that, but cuter.

This book manages to sound like a child's inner storytelling monologue--the way they get when they're playing with their animals and dolls and sitting on the floor, and the characters are talking to each other, and AMAZING magical things happen, and some scary things happen, and the parents stay out of sight to not interrupt but want to record it all because i
...more
Elizabeth Brown
Jul 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
To give you perspective, I'm in my late twenties and I read this book when I was very young--think elementary or primary school. Estes wove a fantastic (in all senses of the word) little story about two Real Girls who live out their imaginations with just a little shiver mixed in for spice. I haven't forgotten how this book held my imagination for so long, and how I'd sit by the bookshelves in my little school library and read until I couldn't anymore. I loved the whole Witch Family, Amy and Cla ...more
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Eleanor Ruth Rosenfeld (Estes)was an American children's author. She was born in West Haven, Connecticut as Eleanor Ruth Rosenfield. Originally a librarian, Estes' writing career began following a case of tuberculosis. Bedridden while recovering, Estes began writing down some of her childhood memories, which would later turn into full-length children's books.

Estes's book Ginger Pye (1951) won the
...more

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Did you set an extremely ambitious Reading Challenge goal back in January? And has this, uh, unprecedented year gotten completely in the way of...
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“Halloween shadows played upon the walls of the houses. In the sky the Halloween moon raced in and out of the clouds. The Halloween wind was blowing, not a blasting of wind but a right-sized swelling, falling, and gushing of wind. It was a lovely and exciting night, exactly the kind of night Halloween should be.” 11 likes
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