In honor of Halloween I want to take a moment to celebrate my favorite fictional witch. There are a lot out there, from Macbeth's Three Witches, to The Grand High Witch, to Big Witch and Little Witch.
But my favorite is, and always will be,
When my mom was a kid she belonged to one of those book-of-the-month clubs (what’s the status on those, now? I know they exist, but are they still a Thing? Anybody?), and she received a new hardcover picture book every month. They’re still in her room at my grandparents’ house, probably three years’ worth, all lined up on the shelf. I have fond memories of being there as a kid and taking them all down to read — or, more often, coerce somebody into reading them to me until their voice gave out. There are a lot of gems on that shelf: The Ice Cream Cone Coot, Mexicali Soup, The Secret Kitten,Cranberry Thanksgiving… but my number one was Old Black Witch, by Wende and Harry Devlin.
Nicky and his mother move to New England and buy a charming fixer-upper of a house to turn into a tearoom, where they intend to serve the best blueberry pancakes around. But Old Black Witch, who lives upstairs, would really prefer they leave her alone, so she bangs and thumps around her attic, flies her broom through the newly-sparkling glass windows, and shouts, “Boo! Scat! and ratcha fratch!” at all the customers. But Nicky and his mother are patient — they know that, even though she may be grumpy, their cantankerous roommate really is a good witch.
Who are your favorite bookish witches?