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The Witches Hardcover – 27 Oct 1983


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Jonathan Cape; 1st edition (27 Oct. 1983)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0224021656
  • ISBN-13: 978-0224021654
  • Product Dimensions: 16 x 2.2 x 24.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (170 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 440,218 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Amazon Review

"This is not a fairy tale. This is about real witches." So begins one of Roald Dahl's best books ever, and, ironically, it is such a great story because the premise is perfectly plausible from the outset. When the narrator's parents die in a car crash on page two (contrast this terribly real demise with that of James's parents who are devoured by an escaped rhinoceros in James and the Giant Peach), he is taken in by his cigar-smoking Norwegian grandmother, who has learned a storyteller's respect for witches and is wise to their ways.

The bond between the boy and his grandmother becomes the centrepiece of the tale--a partnership of love and understanding that survives even the boy's unfortunate transformation into a mouse. And once the two have teamed up to outwitch the witches, the boy's declaration that he's glad he's a mouse because he will now live only as long as his grandmother is far more poignant than eerie.

Of course, there's adventure here along with Dahl's trademark cleverness and sense of the grotesque. Dahl also communicates some essential truths to children: if they smoke cigars, they'll never catch cold, and, most importantly, they should never bathe, because a clean child is far, far easier for a witch to smell than a dirty one. (Ages 7 to 10, or read aloud to younger children) --Susan Harrison --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"How is it it's so real you think it must be true . . . and so fantastic you can't begin to guess what will happen next?" (New Statesman) --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By A Happy Mum on 7 Sept. 2006
Format: Paperback
I am currently reading this book to my children at bedtime, and it must be the most gripping book they have had so far! Unusually for them, they sit silently, listening and hanging on every word. I read just a few chapters a night and every night so far they have cried, "NOOOO! Not yet!! one more chapter...PLEASE just ONE more chapter!!".

The style in which the book is written is the key to it's success I believe. The book has been written as though it is a true story.

We have previously finished reading James & the giant peach, and although they enjoyed it, The Witches is most definitely more popular.

A truly great read. Well done Mr Dahl!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Whitehead on 14 April 2008
Format: Paperback
This book is about a boy and his grandma. Unfortunately his parents died
so he went to live with his Nan in England. In the 6 weeks holiday he was going to Norway but his Nan had pneumonia so he could not. He went to Bournemouth instead. In the hotel there were roughly 99 witches (including the grand high witch). He went to train his mice and he got caught in the room with them .....
I like the book because the characters were amazing.
It was just the words I wanted to read, I could not wait to read on to the other chapters. It is my all time favourite book.
I would give this novel a rating of a wicked 5.
Faran Cox Herbert Thompson Primary School

I love the book `The Witches' because the witch characters are really well described. They do not clean their toe nails. They wear long black hats. I like the boy because he his brave. It was funny because the witch was saying a funky saying.
Soraya Chamani and Jessica Kingsley Herbert Thompson Primary School
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Chevening Reviews on 13 July 2012
Format: Paperback
"A scalp scratching, nail biting, mind boggling book!"

Outstanding! I guarantee this jaw dropping book will make you fall off your chair with laughter! If you like humour, adventure and action, you should definitely read this book. I love the excitement in the atmosphere and I'm sure you'll love it too. With fantastic illustrations, take it from me, this is a truly brilliant book!

It starts with an eight year old boy and ends with a smaller and more hairy creature. This boy has encountered unusual human-like creatures far from our imaginations... Witches - with their peculiar features. You do not want to come into contact with one; or you're in for a frightfully bumpy ride.

Will the boy survive the encounter..?

Roald Dahl is one of the best-selling authors in the world. He is very successful and has an indescribable imagination! His story "The Witches" is not only a book but has been adapted into a stage play and a two-part radio dramatisation for the BBC.

I recommend this book to everyone!
WARNING>>>
Book may involve a highly dangerous potion - `Formula 86 Delayed-Action Mouse Maker' used by the Grand High Witch herself!
By Jessica
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By sharkspeed007 on 11 July 2006
Format: Paperback
Are you at home right now? I hope so. Oh, you're not. You're in one of those internet cafes. Oh dear. Then - and I don't want to scare you - you're not safe. Not at all safe. Put down that sticky slab of chocolate cake and sneak a look at the person sitting beside you. Is it a lady? Oh it is.

Is she a witch?

Well you wouldnt know would you. I didn't before I read this book. And you MUST read this book: not just so that you're able to tell the difference between a witch and a regular kind old lady but because this is deliciously good fiction.

The Witches is a classic Dahl recipe in every sense: a simple and plausible premise, mixed with oodles of imagination, some super-scary baddies, a sprinkling of poignancy and morality, and a big dollop of dark-edged humor. This is Roald Dahl writing at his very best, at his haughtiest and naughtiest; and the effect is spellbinding.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Omnes on 13 Feb. 2015
Format: Paperback
Of all his children novels, Roald Dahl's "Witches" has always gotten very upset parents' reactions and protests from his detractors. Accusations of misogyny, violent images, characters experiencing cruel acts, and a non-politically correct dark humour; claims that have made the book suffer censorship and library bans.

In its story, this novel is about a little boy who, after losing his parents in a car accident, has to live with his grandmother. A woman who reveals to him her Witch hunter past and how our world is filled with Witches. Dangerous demons that take the form of women and ambush children in cruel curses and potions. In one chapter, she even describes five examples of kids the witches had attacked. Five situations that impressed me for those monsters' nastiness, but which Dahl writes with honesty instead of some phony "Desperate Housewife" lie. To make us understand that these demons are dangerous and shameless.

Always unidentified, this narrator writes to us two encounters he had with witches; one he escaped, another he didn't. Suffering an attack that scarred him for life.

Through Quentin Blake's illustrations, the witches and characters take form; each artwork transposing Dahl's strong prose and descriptions. Indeed, some illustrations are powerful in their context as the witches perform their attacks, others are very touching interactions between the grandmother and her grandson. Of all those drawings, two hit me quite strongly. The first is what the unnamed narrator finds under a particular bed as our brain tries to imagine what happened to those creatures he finds underneath it. If they are even still alive after the story.
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