My Unwilling Witch (The Rumblewick Letters) by Hiawyn Oram

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My Unwilling Witch (The Rumblewick Letters) by Hiawyn Oram and Sarah Warburton

Category: For Sharing
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: RB is having problems with Haggy Aggy. She doesn't want to be a witch any more. Excellent text, dynamic ilustrations and lots to explore this book is highly recommended by The Bookbag.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 32 Date: October 2007
Publisher: Orchard Books
ISBN: 978-1846165764

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Rumblewick Spellwacker Mortimer B - or RB for short - is a cat with a problem. He's a witch's familiar but his witch - Haggy Aggy - doesn't want to be a witch any more. As RB explains to his Uncle Sherbet All she wants to do is shop, watch telly and make some friends who aren't witches. What's a cat to do in that situation then?

Well, as Haggy Aggy becomes more extreme in her actions (she refuses to frighten children) RB is increasingly dependent on the advice he gets from his Uncle Sherbet, a witch's familiar of some considerable experience. There are problems which Uncle Sherbet has never encountered before though. Whoever heard of a witch who didn't want to be a witch? Worse still, whoever heard of a witch who wanted to marry a Prince?

I love this book. It's outrageous! Hiawyn Oram's story of the cat who finds himself responsible for a witch who simply wants to be a regular gal is dynamic and fast-paced despite being conducted in a series of letters between RB and his Uncle Sherbet. RB's spells don't always work as they should. The attempt to turn a cauliflower into a coach produces a rather bemused-looking rocking horse. On one occasion it results in a cauliflower on a pair of rockers - but still he battles on, determined to save the honour of his witch. You'll have to read the book to find out how it all works out in the end.

There's a nod to some other stories with which children in the three-to-six age group will be familiar, with shades of Cinderella and The Princess and the Pea. There's a lot of fun to be had in making the connections. What makes this book exceptional is Sarah Warburton's art work. The pictures seem anarchic, almost scribbled onto the page, but they capture the mood perfectly with their vivid colours and sense of action. As a bonus there are numerous lift-the-flap pieces and hidden points to discover. This isn't just a book to read - it's a book to explore.

Some of the humour in the book might be lost on a child - such as the recipe book called 'Pond Café' - but they're a marvellous bonus for any adult sharing the book with a child. The book is recommended by the publishers for the three-to-six age group but I suspect that it will appeal most to the upper end of the range - and possibly even a bit beyond. There's so much to explore in the book that it will stand repeated rereading - I've found something new on each of the several times that I've read it - and it will appeal to both boys and girls despite the central human character being female. This book is the first in a series and you might well be tempted to buy more.

I'd like to thank the publishers for sending this book to The Bookbag - it's provided a great deal of pleasure.

For another book where a child can have fun making the connections between various fairy tales we can recommend Previously by Allan Ahlberg. We can also recommend Emily Brown and The Thing by Cressida Cowell.

Booklists.jpg My Unwilling Witch (The Rumblewick Letters) by Hiawyn Oram is in the Top Ten Picture Books For Halloween.
Buy My Unwilling Witch (The Rumblewick Letters) by Hiawyn Oram at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy My Unwilling Witch (The Rumblewick Letters) by Hiawyn Oram at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy My Unwilling Witch (The Rumblewick Letters) by Hiawyn Oram at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy My Unwilling Witch (The Rumblewick Letters) by Hiawyn Oram at Amazon.com.


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