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What the Witch Left
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What the Witch Left

4.14  ·  Rating details ·  1,045 Ratings  ·  105 Reviews
A locked drawer in an old chest -- and Katy and Louise have the key! When the girls open the drawer, they find --
A little round mirror with a tarnished silver frame,
A long bathrobe with a hood,
A pair of gloves,
A pair of red rubber boots,
An old metal box with the picture of a fruitcake on the lid
-- just ordinary stuff. OR IS IT?
Paperback, 128 pages
Published December 1st 1993 by Little Apple (first published February 1st 1973)
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Rating details
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Oct 02, 2009 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: People who like magic
This was a favorite of mine as a child and I'm enjoying rereading it for the umpteenth time. There is something extraordinarily charming about believing in magic as a child. It's like believing in Santa Claus and the tooth fairy and that your parents are the bravest, strongest, most perfect people on the planet.

In this dog-eat-dog world, sometimes it's nice to remind yourself of the time when life was much less complicated and lessons could be learned through magic cloaks and boots and there is
Jun 13, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: younger
Two little friends, Katy and Louise, find that Katy's aunt Martha's stored possessions have some unusual properties. They have some fun (but not too naughty) adventures, get in a little (but never very serious) trouble, and provide a bit of minor help to others.

An easy but very engrossing read, great for elementary schools kids. Chew seems to have written a lot, I don't know how I never encountered her before.
Alex (not a dude) Baugh
One boring rainy afternoon, Katy and her friend Louise are hanging out in Katy's bedroom when Louise becomes curious about what is in the chest of drawers stored there. The first three drawers yielded not really interesting, but the bottom, fourth drawer was locked and Katy, as explained to Louise, she was not allowed to open it. The things in the bottom drawer belong to her mother's Aunt Martha, whom Katy has never met. But, curiosity gets the best of the girls, and off they go off to fetch the ...more
Mar 25, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mid-reader, arc, 2013
I remember reading this as a little girl. It was one of my favorites and I read it many, many times. Now after being out of print for many years they are being reissued and at first I was a little worried. Would they hold up or would I be sadly disappointed and my memories spoiled?

Well, I can report back that it was just as great as I remembered! Perfect for kids reading Magic Tree House, Junie B and Judy Moody. I know the perfect little girl for this book :)

Buy this title at Powells Books.

Deborah Francisca
Jul 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I read this book as a child, it was one of the first books i ever purchased through scholastic books in grade school! I could not remember the name of the book and searched for years based on the story line. I found it two weeks ago! Priceless childhood memory! I think Ruth Chew was the original of originals when it came to writing magical books. She led the way for the Harry Potter type stories, more mild of course but ahead of her time.
Mar 06, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
This was one of my absolutely favorite books when I was growing up. I must have read it at least fifty times. Re-read it as an adult and feel like it holds up pretty well - pacing is pretty quick. The girls' finds and travels are fun and interesting. Would still recommend to a young reader who likes books involving magic without any romantic subtext interfering with a good story about friendship and adventure.
Jun 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I loved all the Ruth Chew books as a girl, but this was my favorite of all. I still think about it often---the gloves that make you do everything well, the boots that make every step miles long---just so imaginative! It's amazing that in such simple language, Chew could stir up images and ideas that other authors took long novels to do and didn't do as well.
Rebecca McNutt
Jun 09, 2015 rated it really liked it
Really great children's novel with vibrant imagery; it's not very scary but it does have a classic eerie quality to it that's difficult to find in more modern middle-grade fiction. The characters were written to be complex yet easy for readers to relate to, and the plot was truly creative.
Oct 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
Adorable. The delicate illustrations by the author were a beautiful touch (I love when authors illustrate their own stories!). I did get a little frustrated that it took them so long to figure out the fruitcake tin, but I was impressed with how bold they were in using the boots! Also— spoiler alert— I liked how they never told their parents and it never turned into a moralization about lying. As a kid, sometimes it’s nice to have things only you know about.
Mar 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
This held up pretty well. I have often wished in the past 35 years since first reading it that I had seven-league boots.
Apr 03, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Bored on a rainy day, Katy and Louise find the key to the mysteriously locked bottom drawer in Katy's chest of drawers. It contains things belonging to Katy’s mom’s Aunt Martha. When they open the drawer, the contents seem unremarkable: an old robe, flesh-colored gloves, a tin box, a broken mirror and a pair of red rubber boots. But when they begin using the objects, they discover each one has a magical power. The robe has the magic of invisibility; the box can locate lost objects; the gloves im ...more
Jul 25, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: children-s, fantasy
Just as darling as I remembered. I had this when I was a child but lost it at some point. I had been looking for this book for years and could never find it. I had the wrong title stuck in my head - one day I just googled "invisible seven league boots Pilar" and up it came! I was so excited to find it again. This is a wonderful children's story about a girl named Katy and her best friend Louise's adventures with some items found locked in a old chest of drawers. The story has really stayed with ...more
Aug 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
I first read this as a young girl. It was one of the books that made me fall in love with reading and fantasy. It was lovely to revisit it. It’s such a delightful fantasy adventure. And I still wish I had a pair of seven league boots.
Ms. Yingling
I enjoyed reading the reissues of these, even though they made me feel old. Must say that the treatment of Mexico when the girls travel there is better than I would have expected for a 40 year old book!
Crystal Allen
Aug 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: kidsfiction
Ruth Chew was one of my favorite authors during my childhood. I have fond memories of reading her Witch books. They fostered my love for children's literature.
May 29, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: childhood
This was one of my favorite books. I read it about 40 times. The 7-league boots were the best.
Oct 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Another one of my all-time favorites as a kid with many, many repeated readings.
Myra Blake
May 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2017
This is a wonderful little book that was written for young readers. I read it (many, many times) when I was young and thoroughly enjoyed reading it again now. It is a book full of magic, adventure, and friendship.

I highly recommend this book to readers of all ages.
May 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
One of my absolute favorites as a child!!
Oct 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
very cute story!
Sep 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018
This would have been something I would have LOVED as a kid! It was so magical, exciting and cozy. I loved the ending.
The Book Girl (Andrea)
review to come.
Stacy Goodworth
Mar 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
Cute story for kids. My eight-year-old loved it so much that she demanded I read it.
Feb 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It’s possible I read Ruth Chew as a child. She published ahead of my school age. I didn’t know “Witch In The House”, 1975 but found it original, cute, and whimsical. When I spotted “What The Witch Left”, 1973: although I had merely heard of its title, I snapped it up. It carried me away instantly, effortlessly, to 5-star heights! If the other novel was nice: this was ceaselessly engaging, the utmost in creativity, and forever remembered.

As a matter of fact, when I reached a page about rubber boo
Jun 15, 2013 rated it really liked it
(Genre:Children's fiction/fantasy) This is a book from my childhood. I was reminded of it when my husband and I were reading another book together which mentioned '7 league boots'. I was instantly transported back in time. I am not sure how I ever found this book, but it was a really fun read when I was in grade school. So I checked it out from the library and read it with my 8 year old son. He really liked it, too. I was a little worried how it would go over with him since the main characters a ...more
Feb 15, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: witchery
I read this in fourth grade. It was on the bookshelf in the back of the classroom and I found it and read it and the story has stayed with me all these years. I am going to describe the plot based on my memory of it.

This girl's aunt leaves town and after some snooping, she and her friends find an assortment of strange items auntie has left behind in a drawer. As the girls explore the drawer's contents, they realize that every item has a unique magical purpose and experimenting with each leads th
My main fondness for this book lies in the fact that I read it as a young girl and it’s always a bit of a thrill to find an old book from your childhood.

However, this story is very short and, while it does have a bit of a feeling of adventure to it, the magical objects are used mainly as a source of fun and travel, the way a couple of middle-aged women might journey together on a budget pass. Katy and Louise are also a bit interchangeable; at times it was hard for me to remember which one was wh
Jun 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: childhood-reads
This is a totally amazing book about how two girls are snooping around in their mom's stuff and find magical things like a pair of 7 league boots and a box that ends up with lost items in it. Really, the box that finds lost things was the only part I remembered well from reading this one in my childhood. There's an entire chapter on using the boots to take a trip to Mexico that now comes across as really, really culturally insensitive where they feed a girl named Pilar cookies and soda which she ...more
May 26, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: strips
Far better than the other book by her I've read and now that I know this was originally written in like 1972 I am more forgiving of the whole calling your mom mother, and other little things that are chronologically moot. I really did enjoy this book more a story of two girls who open a drawer and find seemingly ordinary items. A robe a pair of gloves rubber rain boots but when they try them on they find that the items are magical. Light easy and a little book that I would have enjoyed at a seco ...more
Brooke Kyle
Jan 09, 2016 rated it really liked it
This was a book I read as a child and tried for years to remember the title of. This year I finally found it and took the time to reread it. It's not the sort of life-changing novel one often reads in childhood, but the story has stuck with me always, and as a child I often fantasized about finding a drawer full of magical objects of my own. It's a wonderful chapter book for young readers, and a great choice for parents looking for something to read to young children that they themselves will en ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
  • No Flying in the House
  • Mr. Pudgins
  • The Wicked, Wicked Ladies in the Haunted House
  • Anna to the Infinite Power
  • The Witch Family
  • A Very Young Dancer
  • Shadow Castle
  • Magic Elizabeth
  • Home Sweet Horror
  • The Witch Next Door
  • The Dragon of Lonely Island
  • Little Witch
  • The Little Leftover Witch
  • The Swing in the Summerhouse (Hall Family Chronicles, #2)
  • Anna Hibiscus (Anna Hibiscus, #1)
  • The Ghosts
  • The Ghost Belonged to Me (Blossom Culp, #1)
  • Like Bug Juice on a Burger (Eleanor, #2)
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

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