The Witch Dog by Margaret Mahy and Sam Usher

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The Witch Dog by Margaret Mahy and Sam Usher

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Buy The Witch Dog by Margaret Mahy and Sam Usher at Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Category: Emerging Readers
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Zoe Morris
Reviewed by Zoe Morris
Summary: Witches have cats not dogs...don't they? Funny and engaging reading for the primary school brigade
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 64 Date: September 2014
Publisher: Orion Children's Books
ISBN: 978-1444011340

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Every witch needs a cat. Everyone knows that. But when we meet Mrs Rose, she’s not really a witch. She’s a mum whose children have left home, and now she’s finding herself with a bit of time on her hands. Her husband suggests she join him with his hobby of Bowls, but that’s a bit boring, thinks Mrs Rose, so instead she decides to do an evening class. In how to become a witch.

Mrs Rose is awesome at witchcraft, the best in her class. And when she gets invited to the Witch Dance she is thrilled, but for one thing: she has to bring a cat with her… and Mrs Rose is horribly allergic! Can she find a way to get into the witch club without one?

This story had me in fits of giggles which is a wonderful compliment for a book aimed at those still in primary school. It was so well told with lots of personality and humour, and the twist at the end was excellent. I loved the idea of a witch dog, rather than a cat companion, and was rooting for Mrs Rose to make it all work. I also adored the matter of fact way in which she decided to become a witch, showing that it was the sort of pastime that, like needlework or cookery, any mum could choose to take up.

This is an Early Reader book, aimed for those graduating from picture books to proper chapter books. It’s well laid out in a non-threatening way, lots of colour and spacing around the text. It’s not broken into chapters like other books in this set sometimes are, but it’s a good stepping stone nonetheless as it encourages the idea of stories with a proper beginning, middle and end.

I really liked this story, which was originally published in another format in the 1970s. It shows how timeless ideas like witches and wizards are, and illustrates the point that you don’t need fancy technology or contemporary references to make a story work. Top marks.

Thanks go to the publishers for supplying this book.

There's more magical fun in The Three Little Magicians by Georgie Adams and Emily Bolam

Buy The Witch Dog by Margaret Mahy and Sam Usher at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Witch Dog by Margaret Mahy and Sam Usher at Amazon.co.uk


Buy The Witch Dog by Margaret Mahy and Sam Usher at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Witch Dog by Margaret Mahy and Sam Usher at Amazon.com.

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