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Earwig and the Witch [Paperback]

Diana Wynne Jones , Paul O. Zelinsky
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
Price: 3.55 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

22 April 2014

Everyone knows that orphanages are horrible places. But Earwig has a surprising amount of power over everyone else at St Morwald’s Home for Children, and loves it there. So the last thing she wants is to be sent to live with the very strange Bella Yaga…

Earwig was left at St Morwald's as a baby. Unlike the other children, she loves it there, mostly because she has the run of the place and seems to be able to persuade people to do as she wants. Then one day Earwig is chosen to live with a very strange couple: Bella Yaga, her new 'mother', is actually a horrible witch. Earwig will need all her ingenuity (and some help from a talking cat) to survive…

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Product details

  • Paperback: 115 pages
  • Publisher: Greenwillow Books; Reprint edition (22 April 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062075136
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062075130
  • Product Dimensions: 17.8 x 13.8 x 1.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 67,709 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Diana Wynne Jones is recognised internationally as a major writer of fantasy and in 2007 received a LIFE ACHIEVEMENT AWARD at the World Fantasy Convention. She has also won the Mythopoeic Fantasy Award (twice) and the Guardian Award for CHARMED LIFE. Her books have been translated into more than eighteen languages, and her novel HOWL'S MOVING CASTLE was made into an animated film by Japanese director Hayao Miyazaki. Diana lives in Bristol with her husband, a professor of Early English literature.

Product Description


“…a delightful sampler of her originality and imagination, with small unexpected touches.” Nicolette Jones, Sunday Times Culture, Children’s Book of the Week

“There's a nice helping of magic and some brisk upbeat sentiment in this crisply written story… How the feisty Earwig outwits the pair with her own special skills and the help of Bella Yaga's cat Thomas is deliciously entertaining.” Julia Eccleshare, The Guardian



‘Wynne Jones is superb, mixing the comical with the magical’
The Times

About the Author

Diana Wynne Jones (1934–2011) spent her childhood in Essex and began writing fantasy novels for children in the 1970s. With her unique combination of magic, humour and imagination, she enthralled generations of children and adults with her work. She won the Guardian Award in 1977 with Charmed Life, was runner-up for the Children's Book Award in 1981 and was twice runner-up for the Carnegie Medal.

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I wanted more 10 Jun 2011
By Julia
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I have loved Diana Wynne Jones' books ever since I first discovered them, and have devoured each eagerly as it's come out. I'd really looked forward to this - particularly as it will presumably be her last, following her sad death earlier this year. (Unless, maybe, perhaps, there is one still in the pipeline from her publishers.) "Earwig and the Witch" is vintage Wynne Jones, funny, quirky, intelligent and magical BUT, and it's a big but, it is very very short and clearly aimed at younger children. My 7 and 8 year olds will love it, but I'd hoped for something with a much older target - me! Her teen novels such as "Homeward Bounders" are superb - enthralling and brilliantly conceived and written. This is great for its target readership but I had wanted more.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If Only It Was Longer! 30 Jun 2011
Briefly: the plot involves a little girl in an orphanage who gets everything she wants. She is picked out to be fostered by a strange couple, the woman turning out to be a mean old witch and the man is actually some kind of supernatural being, and no longer does the little girl get everything she wants. She teams up with the witch's talking cat and the two devise ways to make their lives better.

This is possibly Diana Wynne Jones's last book (I've heard there may be one more coming out in the next year -although they are rereleasing Dogsbody with a Neil Gaiman introduction, so that may be the book they're referring to). Sadly, this is one of her shortest books, feeling as if it belongs in a collection of shorts such as her Stopping for a Spell or Warlock at the Wheel.

It's a wonderful, Diana-esque book, obviously aimed at a younger audience. Lines are generously spaced, the text is large, and there are plenty of illustrations (quirky, fitting illustrations by Marion Lindsay in the UK version. The U.S. version to come out Jan. 31, 2012 will be illustrated by Paul O. Zelinsky), so the 144 page book really amounts to very little to read. I read it in 45 minutes, which is definitely why it feels like it should be in a collection of short stories. As a children's book it's fine, but those of us used to Diana's lengthy, thorough story-telling it is way too short. I wanted more!

It's all Diana though, and she created a quaint, interesting world and characters, as usual.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Full of charm and magic 3 Aug 2011
This will be a little review to suit a little book. A little book, but one that contains bag-fulls of charm, magic, mayhem and talking cats. Earwig is an orphan who was left on the steps of St Morwald's Home for Children. She has managed to entwine the inhabitants of the Children's Home round her little finger, and all now do her bidding. So she is beyond dismayed when Bella Yaga and the Mandrake come to the Home and choose Earwig to take home with them. Bella Yaga is a witch and determines that she is going to use Earwig as a second set of hands. Earwig is just as determined that she won't be used for that - and sparks certainly fly.

Diana Wynne Jones is sorely missed - an author who mixed mundane and magical to produce stories of great delight. I equate Diana Wynne Jones with Roald Dahl - someone who knew how to entertain children, not talk down to them, and introduced both darkness and humour to their tales.

Accompanying the text of Earwig and the Witch are atmospheric illustrations from the pen of Marion Lindsay - cute and eerie, all at once.

As I said above, I was utterly charmed by this novel and think that anyone who has enjoyed a Diana Wynne Jones in the past will love this dark little gem.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Earwig and the Witch 16 Jan 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
A nice, quick little story. The Author is very good at gettig your attention and keeping it right from the first chapter. You feel sorry for the little orphan, Earwig, at first, then as she begins to find her feet, you're behind her all the way, an enchanting read.
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