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The Wednesday Witch
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The Wednesday Witch

4.11  ·  Rating details ·  886 Ratings  ·  99 Reviews
Mary Jane's mother has told her not to let any strangers in the house while she's away. Now someone is outside ringing the doorbell.

Mary Jane looks through the peep hole and sees a short, fat woman wearing a long black dress and a pointed hat. "She looks just like a witch," Mary Jane thinks.

The woman outside IS a witch, and Mary Jane is about to meet her face to face.
Hardcover, 128 pages
Published June 1st 2001 by Hyperion Books (first published 1969)
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Stephanie I think this is the same book, although Ruth Chew wrote 20+ books, many about witches and magic. The book has been reprinted several times and you may…moreI think this is the same book, although Ruth Chew wrote 20+ books, many about witches and magic. The book has been reprinted several times and you may have read one with a different cover.(less)

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SheriC (Portable Magic)
I had only vague but happy memories of reading this book as a little girl, remembering the slightly incompetent witch who rode a vacuum cleaner instead of a broom and her talking black cat who helped a little girl with her homework. Rereading this as an adult was a pleasure, though the story is certainly dated now. But the humor and delightfully sensible nonsense is still there. Most of all, I was thrilled to uncover the origin story of one of our family quirks: Whenever we pile in the car after ...more
Oct 30, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
How wonderful that Chew's books have been reissued! I opine they hold up well and are still interesting, even enchanting. The art is wonderful, too. The problems modern parents might have with this is 1. Mom feels pressure to tidy up the home before Dad gets home, and 2. Mary Jane is both old enough to be left alone for an hour or more, and young enough to be interested in dollhouses. *I* think those are minor.

Thank you to the LFL patron who shared this. Now I have to decide whether to read it o
One Wednesday afternoon, Mary Jane's mother has to go to the store. "Don't get into any mischief while I am away," she says. Alas, Mary Jane goes up to look at the pretty things on her mother's dresser and she does, indeed, get into mischief. A bottle of her mother's perfume, Mischief. Soon, a witch with a vacuum arrives on Mary Jane's doorstep, attracted to the smell of mischief! Mary Jane knows not to open the door to strangers, and when she sees the witch fly away on her vacuum, she is at onc ...more
Jan 06, 2008 rated it it was amazing
All time favorite story growing up! i think it changed the way i viewed a vacuum for evs...
I love all of Ruth Chew's witch stories (mostly out of print now). I used to check this one out of the Casselberry Library a lot when I was a kid. I also checked out a book that had a little girl witch who met a little girl mermaid. The girl witch took care of a baby named BeBe and the mermaid took care of a baby named BayBay. I wish I could find that book again someday.
Jan 12, 2008 rated it really liked it
I used to read this book regularly as a child. I enjoyed it so much that as an adult I purchased as many of Ruth Chew's books as I could, despite that most of them are out of print. They are fun to read, magical, but are not dark at all, and are really great for children about 3rd grade and up.
Apr 04, 2007 rated it it was amazing
I read all of Ruth Chew's books as a kid. Great fun, filled with fantasy and magic. A cranky witch, a magical flying vacuum cleaner, and some funny adventures.
Kaitlyn Harlan
Oct 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book was delightful. It was so fun, funny, and magical! For a book published in 1969 I definitely think this aged well! There was some minor detail that were old fashioned but all in all it translated very well. Easy 5/5 for a children's book. It's an early chapter book. And it was a perfect addition to my Halloween reads!
Jul 26, 2014 rated it liked it
All of Ruth Chew’s books are enormously special. She is a beloved author who won’t be replaced. I always take with a grain of salt, outdated aspects of society. It is preposterous to dock a book’s rating for not matching the reviewer’s present day. It stands to reason every book, written in a current timeline, was most certainly modern in its decade. To judge societal alignment, would mean rendering today’s novels out of mode in due course. It is reasonable, however, to critique inappropriate ac ...more
Orinoco Womble (tidy bag and all)
A bland little story about a bland little girl who meets a witch who rides a vaccuum cleaner. Another copy-cat; Sabrina Spellman made her first appearance in Archie Comics in 1962, 7 years before this book came out Witch Hilda (sound familiar?) isn't very good at magic, except on Wednesdays; and even then nothing goes quite right for her until she learns to be helpful and unselfish. Geh.

Mary Jane (even her name is bland)'s parents are pretty oblivious to what's going on around them, and her best
Lisa Ard
Nov 04, 2011 rated it liked it
Last night my kids and I settled in, while I read this book cover to cover. My daughter drew at her desk. My son curled up next to me on her bed. That coupled with this easy, old-fashioned, quirky story almost made me want to give it 5 stars. Instead I give it a solid 3 stars.

When a young girl spends an afternoon alone at home, her mother advises "don't get into mischief". Well, of course, she does. She's too smart to let in the witch that turns up on her doorstep, but the cat left behind is ano
Jul 22, 2012 rated it really liked it
I found this darling book again these school hols in a box in the bottom of the spare room cupboard.

My darling mum had packed it up over 30 years ago, (along with my old Trixie Beldon & Laura Wilder treasures), dragged it from Melbourne to Perth and still had them! Bless you and your occasional hoarding!!

I read this at oh, 8 or 9 and just loved the quirkiness of the story. It's not high literature, but the tender detail of the tiny cat Cinders and what she's fed and other minutae of the dai
Sep 06, 2008 rated it really liked it
Before there was Harry Potter and J. K. Rowling was unknown, there was Ruth Chew. She wrote several witch stories, but my favorite by far is the Wednesday Witch. This book captures the imagination and is nothing but fun. I never looked at our Filter Queen vacuum the same way again. I kept sitting on it--wishing it would fly like James, until my mother told me to knock it off. This is a fun rainy day book for kids, but adults would find it amusing as well.
Sep 01, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I was a HUGE Ruth Chew fan as a child... her books shaped most of my childhood games and imaginative play...

It would be soooooooooooo great if they were reissued. I can not believe they are out of print - when so many other series continue to be reissued over and over for future generations.
Jul 27, 2012 rated it really liked it
A fun read--either as an independent read or read aloud--for early elementary kids. Some magic, a quirky witch, a brave girl, a flying vacuum, a tiny cat--all make for a humorous adventure. I liked the author's illustrations, too.
Melissa Porter
Jun 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I've read this book more than any other in the world, so I must give credit where it is due. I checked it out at the AP library and bought my own copy a year or so ago. Takes me back to the days when I pretended to carry around a miniature witch (and cat) around in my pocket.
Mar 17, 2009 rated it liked it
I remember purchasing this from a Scholastic book club in elementary school. I read it over and over -- I particularly liked the innovation of a vacuum-riding witch (so much more practical and easier to manipulate than a broom!). I still have my childhood copy!
Jun 04, 2011 rated it really liked it
I read this book repeatedly as a kid. It was fun to read it again! The author has a fun imagination, and created a character that was interesting, but not at all menacing. It's a cute little book - I'm sad that it's out of print.
Feb 22, 2016 added it
Shelves: favorites
I absolutely loved this book when I was growing up!
Nov 15, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition

This is a sweet, if not particularly memorable book. A mischievous witch who likes to make extra mischief on Wednesdays knocks on Mary Jane's door. Hilarity ensues as cats and roller skates are shrunk, a dollhouse is trashed, neighbor Marion gets dizzy on a vacuum cleaner ride, a miniature witch goes to school, etc.

There is a scene that freaked me out - the witch pulling out scissors and cutting her cat. Fortunately, the scissors are magic and are only temporarily shrinking the cat, but for a mo
Jennifer Heise
Sep 21, 2017 rated it liked it
Classic Ruth Chew, with a young person getting magical stuff (in this case a familiar and a ride-on canister vacuum cleaner) through the not-too-scary intervention of a witch-- this one is not so good, but she's not all that bad in the end either. Of course it's dated (imagine two girls being out of touch with parents for a whole day and managing to slip unescorted to the beach, even with a flying vacuum cleaner!) but a nostalgic re-read nonetheless. (Also, the magic measuring tape etc.)
Christine Wacko
Sep 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
My favourite book as a ten year old! Awesome
Mar 08, 2017 rated it liked it
I think that Wednesday witch is a good book for children who like magic.
Michelle M
Feb 19, 2017 rated it it was ok
This book was slow and weak. It's a vague shadow of some of her better works.
Ages: 2nd - 6th grades
Amanda Curless
Review for “The Wednesday Witch” 9780449815564

Mary Jane, a young girl, is told by her mother to not allow any strangers into the house. When her mother leaves, Mary Jane runs up stairs and goes through her mother’s things. She opens a perfume bottle called mischief and what else happens except for mischief? A witch comes to the door riding a vacuum with a scrawny cat and Mary Jane’s adventure begins. Between shrinking cats, flying vacuums, and witches brew; this girl never imagined what
Oct 16, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: kids
The idea of magical scissors that cut things smaller is so entrancing that it makes up for a lot. Think of how easily I could clean out my basement and attic!

And a one inch high cat that can talk...

As an entertaining bonus, this book was written well before the invention of safety. Examples: to fly high in the sky, you must wrap the vacuum cleaner hose around your neck; it's great fun to swim at the deserted beach with only your best friend, bury each other in sand, and fall asleep in the sun
Cheryl Rose
Oct 18, 2012 rated it really liked it
The Los Angeles Library did not have this book in spite of their expansive collection of books. I bought a used paperback copy from Amazon, the same paperback that I had as a child.
I loved this story as a child, the miniature cat and sometimes miniature witch, the flying vacuum, unsupervised trip to the beach, doll house, magic and power in an otherwise average life.

As an adult, while I still love this story, it does feel dated. Example; A paddling from a parent, once widely accepted, I found
Feb 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-as-a-kid
I loved this book as a child, and really enjoyed reading it again! It had been ages since I last read it, I had even forgotten the title. I found it at my local library. It sure brought back some memories. The story is really fun and cute, but it is dated. Kids might not be able to relate much to the story now. Vacuum cleaners look different now, witches are not necessarily mean or ugly, roller-skates are not as popular, I am not even sure there are many latch-key kids these days! So, if you lov ...more
A cute little tale about a child's adventures behind the ignorant backs of her parents (those are always the best ones). It's definitely also got signs of the times-- the mother lets two young girls go to the beach alone, their street in New York is recognized by trees, and the father spanks the child for "misbehavior." I wish the author would have gone a little deeper into the philosophy of it all, letting her protagonist muse about what was happening, but a fun read nonetheless.
V. Gingerich
This is one of the few books my one grandma had for kids, and I read it every other month or so on long Sunday afternoons, tummy full of Grandma's steak and gravy and mashed potatoes. The memories of Grandma's meals may tinge my memories of this book, make it seem funnier and scarier and better written than it actually was. However, if I ever spy this book in a used bookstore, and if my sisters happen to be with me that day, there will be a scandal over who gets it.
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Ruth Chew is the author of a number of popular books for young readers, including Secondhand Magic and The Wednesday Witch. She was born in Minneapolis and grew up in Washington, D.C. She studied art at the Corcoran School of Art and worked as a fashion artist. She was the mother of five children.
More about Ruth Chew...