The Witches The Witches discussion


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Too scary for kids?

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message 1: by Somerandom (last edited Apr 26, 2014 03:39AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Somerandom We seem to have stumbled into a disturbing mind set as of late. Perhaps born out of good intentions. Some people seem to think that because a book, TV show or movie is dark, scary and shows threats that it is somehow unsuitable for children. Roald Dahl amongst a slew of others often comes under fire for sexism, racism and teaching "bad morals." *Rolls eyes*
But also for being too dark and too scary.

So what do you think? Should we allow our kiddlywinks to be afraid of things? Or should we protect them and allow their childhood naivety/innocence to stretch a little bit longer?


Veronica Not really.


Anna It was imaginative and exciting and good triumphed over evil. Yeah, that's teaching our kids bad morals. I don't know about you guys, but I was scarred for life. Scarred!

Seriously. We have an imagination epidemic on our hands. Many kids today aren't growing up with books like this; it's all cell phones and video games. Kids are smart; let them explore with their imaginations! These kinds of books are perfectly all right.

On the other hand, I don't think we need to expose kids (or really, anyone) to all the blood and gore and sex that's becoming so popular in the media. Is it necessary? I don't know. I don't believe it is.

These are the kinds of books we should be encouraging kids to read. Is it a bit scary? Maybe. But so is a roller coaster, and no one's protesting that. Not that I've seen.

There isn't anything wrong with Roald Dahl's book. Imagination and whimsy are beneficial; they make you think. Or, *gasp!* , maybe allow you to have some fun!


Tallburt I refuse to let my kids be exposed to sanitised stories. Life is hard at at times unpleasant and unfair. The sooner they learn that the better.


Anna Maxwell wrote: "Why not ask a child what he or she thinks? Many children simply adore this book."

Exactly. No generalizations about kids.


message 6: by Somerandom (last edited Apr 27, 2014 06:07PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Somerandom Eliza wrote: "It was imaginative and exciting and good triumphed over evil. Yeah, that's teaching our kids bad morals. I don't know about you guys, but I was scarred for life. Scarred!

Seriously. We have an ima..."


Haha! I was scarred for life too! =P
How will we ever recover?!

I remember once my father wandered into my school library with me before school, in the hopes that he could persuade me to get a library card and use it (usually our teachers would get the required reading we had to do as part of their school supplies. Whilst my teachers encouraged us all to get a library card each, it wasn't required until year 5 when we had to start learning how to research.)
There was some lady having a heated discussion with my usually mousy librarian who looked as though she was about ready to kill.
My father asked her what the matter was and she held up Roald Dahl's Revolting Rhymes in disgust.
She was trying feverishly to get it taken out of the school Library, because she thought it too inappropriate and too violent. My Father, ever the sarcastic gentleman, bowed to her, thanked her furiously whilst shaking her hand and proceeded to ask the librarian permission for me to borrow it so I could read it that very afternoon.(Mind you I was like 8 at the time.)
I'll never forget that book banning lady's face. It was a mixture of utter disgust, terror and confusion all somehow mixed into one expression.

I must admit I am quite curious and hoping someone can offer reasonable justification for such a thought process as sheltering kids to the nth degree. Alas, I think it will never happen.


Anna Somerandom wrote: "Eliza wrote: "It was imaginative and exciting and good triumphed over evil. Yeah, that's teaching our kids bad morals. I don't know about you guys, but I was scarred for life. Scarred!

Seriously. ..."


What a great father! :) Book-banners. . . I dont understand them at all.


Lourdes I was not a little kid when I read this book... I think I was 12 or maybe 13, and I loved it, and I think I would had loved it anyway if I were younger at the time. Also I watched the movie when I was realy small and I like it as well.


Jason My fourth grade teacher would read this book to us every day after lunch. He is the one who got me reading Raold Dahl which lead to a love of reading in general. Definitely not too scary.


Christina Teilmann I remember one of our teachers reading it aloud to us during our lunch break in primary school. And in the third or fourth grade (I don't remember exactly when tbh, might've been later or earlier than that) all the teachers of our school put on a stage production of that story (they did that every year with different stories each year). So I would say no, definitely not too scary. I do remember finding the storyline a bit scary, but no more than we could handle.


Paul Martin The book? Nah, all good.

The movie? Creepy as hell, I still see those bald witches when I close my eyes.


message 12: by Anna (new) - rated it 5 stars

Anna The movie was very odd. I stick with the book.


Shellie My 8 year old son and I started The Twits a few months ago. He got so creeped out he made me get rid of the book after the first couple of chapters, and he got really upset for a few nights. I had to really convince him that people didn't turn as ugly as their thoughts.


message 14: by Emma (new) - rated it 3 stars

Emma Debruyne Some children love scary books. I remember when I was young I loved the books of Paul van Loon. An author of horror stories for children. One of those stories was about a monster under your bed and at night when you go to the toilet it would bite of your leg. I did not dare to go to the toilet at night for weeks. Or about a sofa that ate somebody... I would sit on the ground for months. So really The Witches isn't so scary. And even if it would be, just let the kids descide what they love to read.


TheBob10 This cant be scary for kids LOADS of kids love Roald Dahl


Blake Elliott I definitely grew up with Roald Dahl's books. And I can say if I never had read such stories I didn't have good memories of my childhood.


TheBob10 So you saying its not scary


TheBob10 get to your point


Paul Martin Haha, what the hell?


message 22: by Anna (new) - rated it 5 stars

Anna TheBob10, now where did you get ahold of the Doctor's psychic paper? Either that, or you've discovered invisible words. . .


TheBob10 lol I discovered invisible words


Paul Martin TheBob10 wrote: "lol I discovered invisible words"

A quick look at your profile verifies that ;)


message 25: by Anna (last edited May 15, 2014 12:38AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Anna I never saw evidence of racism, sexism, or teaching of "bad morals" in his stories. As for his adult stories, I have no idea, because I haven't read them. But his children's stories were fun and imaginative. If there were any of these attributes hidden in them, I don't remember them. And I've reread his children's stories in my adult years, when I would have spotted anything suspicious. So, who knows?


Tanvira I started reading Roald Dahl's books since I was 8 years old. It was for school. The very first book we read of his was Esio Trot, which was simply Tortoise backwards, and it was a great book to start off with, and every single one of us loved it.

Then we read The Fantastic Mr. Fox in the fourth grade. In the fifth grade however, we read his autobiography, Boy, which-don't get me wrong it was spectacular- not as enjoyable as his actual stories.

Due to the lack of actual stories in Boy, we began borrowing his books from the library and there I've read Matilda, The BFG, James and the Giant Peach, the Twits, Danny the Champion of the World and obviously The Witches.

^I was 10 around that time. The only book that probably scarred me for life was James and the Giant Peach. Okay, fine, it was the movie's fault, not the book. The movie was horrifying. But every book of his I've read was absolutely and utterly fantastic :D

It doesn't matter how old your child might be, you cannot deprive him/her of his right to read what he wants. It's not out of the age thing now, is it?

For example, if your child wanted to read The Time Traveler's Wife when he/she is still 8 years old, it's okay to intervene and say no to your child. But all the books I have listed above are okay for the age group of 8 and above.

Hope I helped. The Witches is not a scary book, and I recommend it to children everywhere :)


message 27: by Somerandom (last edited May 15, 2014 05:49AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Somerandom Carthya wrote: "what kind of 'sexism, racism and teaching "bad morals." ' is roald dahl accused of? just curious"

Ahh well Roald Dahl holds the high distinction of being an author who has had all of his books challenged somewhere.

Here are a small list of "offenses" he has supposedly committed which has warranted a book being challenged in a school setting somewhere in the Western World.

The Twits are often said to be encouraging bad behavior in kids. A lady even tried to get this banned at my school. My Year 4 teacher's response was to read this to the class immediately. lol!
Fantastic Mr Fox and Danny the Champion of the World supposedly teaches kids that it's okay to steal.
Matilda apparently encourages rebellious behavior in young children.
The depiction of Oompa Loompas in the original Charlie and the Chocolate Factory had to be revised for modern editions due to allegations of racism. (They were originally a tribe of black pygmies from "the deepest darkest part of Africa, where no white man had ever set foot." AKA Loompaland.) Which I think is more unthinking habit on the part of Dahl rather than malicious racism. I mean he was born in the early 1900s after all.
The Witches is often decried for being sexist because of the line "all Witches are women."
James and the Giant Peach has been challenged due to the word "ass" making an appearance in it. Which I think is more to do with the transition to American audiences than anything else.
The BFG is often in the spotlight for being "racist." (The many "flavors" of "human beans" is decried for being too politically incorrect.)
Revolting Ryhmes (which I highly recommend) is often in hot water for containing the word "slut." Which, to be fair to Dahl, does work innocently enough in the context. (Slut originally meant "chamber maid" and Dahl most likely wanted to use that meaning.)

In other words, the Mrs Lovejoys of the world are always complaining about pretty much all of Roald Dahl's wonderful books.
*shudders* I do so hate the PC brigade.


message 28: by Anna (new) - rated it 5 stars

Anna Somerandom wrote: "Carthya wrote: "what kind of 'sexism, racism and teaching "bad morals." ' is roald dahl accused of? just curious"

Ahh well Roald Dahl holds the high distinction of being an author who has had all ..."


Thank you, Somerandom. :) Too bad; those PC people do like to get nitpicky, don't they?


Somerandom Eliza wrote: "Somerandom wrote: "Carthya wrote: "what kind of 'sexism, racism and teaching "bad morals." ' is roald dahl accused of? just curious"

Ahh well Roald Dahl holds the high distinction of being an auth..."


No worries. =D Those PC people need to get out more I think lol!


Paul Martin Somerandom wrote: "Carthya wrote: "what kind of 'sexism, racism and teaching "bad morals." ' is roald dahl accused of? just curious"

Ahh well Roald Dahl holds the high distinction of being an author who has had all ..."


It's the same with Tintin au Congo. Ordering the africans about, shooting elefants and alligators. In general, acting like a thoughtless imperialist white man. Should it be censored? Absolutely not.


Somerandom Paul Martin wrote: "Somerandom wrote: "Carthya wrote: "what kind of 'sexism, racism and teaching "bad morals." ' is roald dahl accused of? just curious"

Ahh well Roald Dahl holds the high distinction of being an auth..."


Yeah pretty much. I don't think it's malicious, just unthinking. You can't expect authors from the past to reflect modern sensibilities, because they were brought up differently. And to censor the past is to lie to our kids.


message 32: by Jackson (last edited May 26, 2014 10:12AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jackson The witches are a little scary but not too much. Children 8 and older can read by themselves. 7 and under should probably have an adult with them.


message 33: by [deleted user] (new)

The Witches is definitely too scary for kids 7 or 8 and under (it was a little scary for me!) and even though I feel like Roald Dahl tried to gear it toward little kids, it's just too much in terms of scariness. If you want a Roald Dahl book, I'd go with Charlie and the Chocolate Factory or Matilda.


message 34: by Christopher (new) - added it

Christopher Walborn IndieOwls wrote: "The Witches is definitely too scary for kids 7 or 8 and under..."

Depends on the kids. My 6 year old is less scared than my 10 year old.


message 35: by [deleted user] (new)

The movie was pretty creepy when I was seven (which was a long time ago), but the book was OK around the same time. I believe that the mindset and maturity of the child should determine whether or not it would be okay for them to read the book.


Somerandom Christopher wrote: "IndieOwls wrote: "The Witches is definitely too scary for kids 7 or 8 and under..."

Depends on the kids. My 6 year old is less scared than my 10 year old."


My 5 year old nephew (who is such a gentle little soul) loved the Witches. He apparently listened in on a reading to older kids. He wasn't scared once. But one of the older kids had nightmares for a week. Go figure.


message 37: by Tim (new) - rated it 3 stars

Tim Turnip When I first read it, I was entranced by the Witches, and while I was creeped out in some places, the book isn't definitely a 'horror' book or any bogus like that. It's simply a great read with perhaps a few pages that might leave kids thinking, 'WHOA'- and children should be exposed to this kind of literature. It's sort of like a thriller (Example: When the boy is hiding in the hotel meeting room with the Witches.)


message 38: by Sorrel (last edited Jul 04, 2014 09:25AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Sorrel Scary? Perhaps. In a bad way that will traumatise children and make them have nightmares forever? Never. It's an adventure with typical Roald Dahl thrills and excitements and, of course, quirky humour worked in. We were read The Witches at school when we were five: half an hour every week and we looked forward to that half an hour in the way that we looked forward to Christmas.


Georgia B Isnt this book made for kids. What age do you think this book would be suitable for?


Julie Oh, no! This is the funniest scary book I've ever read.


message 41: by Jen (new) - rated it 3 stars

Jen No I read it the summer before I went into 4th grade and by then Rohl Dahls books were popular so I couldn't have been the only one who read it.


Ahmad I let my students devour Dahl. They loved all of his books except James and Giant Peach.
Dahl is at least playful and most kids get that he's being funny and outlandish...Enid Blyton & co. on the other hand.....


Jacobj Not at all scary.


Sarah First of all... TheBob10, what was that break in the page? Secondly, it's a scary subject, but I read it plenty of times as a kid and never got seriously freaked out. Dahl is just talented in a way that he can write about creepy things and still have the power of whimsy overall.


message 45: by [deleted user] (new)

I was a kid when I watched the movie of 'The Witches'. I loved the movie nearly as much as I loved the book. In fact, I was a bit disappointed that the mouse turned back into a boy!


message 46: by M (new) - rated it 3 stars

M Liu def not, plus witches isn't even that scary

i read it in 2nd grade and it barely made an impression


message 47: by M (new) - rated it 3 stars

M Liu nothing compared to silver, which isn't that scary in concept, but the author somehow makes it seem kinda creepy-ish


Puneet Rai when I was little my 4th grade teacher read my class that story and I think I remember of the lines in the book


Deeptanshu I read it as a kid and dont seem to be suffering too much.


Gwen not at all.


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