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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly Recommended
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...
Published on 7 Sept. 2006 by A Happy Mum

versus
9 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars School Review of the Witches
We have just read The Witches in class J1 (year 3) of Gayhurst School in Hackney, London. The class has given this book three stars because some of us really loved the book, but some were disappointed. Before the Witches we had read Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, also by Roald Dahl. We all loved that book and some of us thought the Witches was less exciting. The...
Published on 7 July 2006 by Andrew Orphanoudakis


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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly Recommended, 7 Sept. 2006
This review is from: The Witches (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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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Delicious Dahl, 11 July 2006
This review is from: The Witches (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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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Witches - a must for any 8 year old, 27 Feb. 2006
This review is from: The Witches (Paperback)
This is enchanting book, which I read to my 8 year old son at bedtime. A truly gripping story that holds no punches when appealing to a childs intrigue for ghoulish scariness. He couldn't even wait for the next installment and secreted the book into his school bag as a replacement for his class reading book the next day!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Wicked Book, 14 April 2008
This review is from: The Witches (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
5.0 out of 5 stars "A scalp scratching, nail biting, mind boggling book!", 13 July 2012
This review is from: The Witches (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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, 3 Mar. 2001
By A Customer
It's funny because like the last reviewer, I came back to re-read this book recently as an adult, having enjoyed it as a child. This time round it was still as magical as ever. Dare I say it - I think he beats JKRowling as a master of childrens' stories. It won the Whitbread in '83 and it deserved it - it's funny, scary, witty and completely pageturning, but I disagree with the last reviewer who said it was scary for kids. I read it when I was a kid and simply enjoyed it; I think children appreciate a darkly comic read. I remember reading that Roald Dalh took 2 years to write a book and it shows - the book is so effortlessly readable, yet it takes a good deal of work to create something so well-crafted and addictive.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Every parent should read this to their kids!, 23 July 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: The Witches (Paperback)
I recently re-read this childhood classic and to my amazement, I think I love it even more! In my wee days it scared me. Dahl's delicious descriptions could make every child's hair stand on end, but now I can enjoy Dahl's brilliant abilities of observation and talent for description.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Scary!, 12 Feb. 2008
This review is from: The Witches (Paperback)
Plot: To witches children smell like dogs droppings and you never know where one is. On the outside (with a disguise on), a witch can look like any ordinary women. Without the gloves to cover their cat like claws; they wear wigs because they are actually bald; witches are very difficult to tell apart from humans, or are they?

Fact: The boy (who is unnamed) in the story's grandmother is Norwegian and is really based on Roald Dahl's mother who inspired him a lot!

Rating and recommendation: I would rate this brilliant book 7/ 10; I think would recommend this perfect paperback to all Roald Dahl fans, especially 7 - 12 year
olds
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5.0 out of 5 stars "What hurts you today makes you stronger tomorrow.", 13 Feb. 2015
This review is from: The Witches (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.
The second, which I find particularly spooky, is in the first chapter; two women with the same creepy smile as the narrator asks who is the witch? The one on the left? On the right? Or both?! A smile that troubled me as I recognised it in the medias (ex: Scandal talk show hosts with sinister grin and eyes before they pulled their horrifying set-ups, with a dishonesty that reeked into your face and makes you wonder how can the public stay there and approve this and the ambush guests not notice and get out of those mouse traps. Musicians playing with a big smile when the camera's on, but becoming quite nasty when it's gone. Stars on premiere carpets with Public Relations smiles. Rita Skeeter journalists asking horrifying questions at the Cannes Film Festival's press conferences. etc.). A smile that people close to me have also exhibited. Hiding their cruelty behind it.

As a whole, this novel comes across as a children Fantasy story about a boy and his grandmother who affront witches. But through its lines, this novel can be interpreted as an excellent condemnation of adults that abuse children. Two-faced grown-ups who, behind social masks and statures, take pleasure in hurting kids who, after those attacks, have to live with the pain and degradation for the rest of their lives. Some never recovering from the trauma, some dying due to the nature of the abuse they suffered, others, like the unnamed narrator, using the experience and psychological wounds as a weapon to fight back and denounce this injustice. In this boy's case, he uses the witches' curse to make those women suffer for what he has become. Which goes pretty well with the proverb in my review's title. That what hurt the narrator strengthened him, broadened his mind, maturity, view of life, and gave him abilities to fight back.

And about the misogyny accusation, it is rubbish since there are very nice women in this story. First the grandmother, then her nurse, and the little girls whom the witches had attacked in that chapter I mentioned earlier. So far, I didn't find an explanation from Roald Dahl, but personally, I think using women is brilliant because it shatters the gender cliché in novels and movies that children' abusers are always men. Never women! As if women, because of their maternal nature, couldn't hurt a child and behave like dogs. Which isn't true if you consider the mothers who abuse physically and psychologically their children, and other women (ex: teachers, psychologists) who sexually assault kids. So to me, Roald Dahl's display of children abusers through women reminds us that people from that gender can also attack, can also be dogs and psychopaths.
Now of course this is my personal interpretation, but if you take into account that most of Roald Dahl's novels denounce bullying children suffer at the hands of evil, the more I think my interpretation makes sense.
That in our world, evil takes many form. Many masks, many social conventions. Some that society can't always see through unfortunately. But which children must know and be aware of right now.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Re-reading The Witches on its 30th Anniversary, 16 Sept. 2013
By 
This review is from: The Witches (Paperback)
The 30th anniversary edition of The Witches offers another chance to marvel at Roald Dahl's supernova of deliciously disgusting magnificence.

I was hesitant about re-reading at first because, as an adult, I've discovered it's not always wise to return to things you loved as a child. Recently, I retried my favourite childhood snacks - pink sugar mice dipped in marmite - only to discover they're just as revolting as everyone always said they were.

I needn't have worried. Roald Dahl's mice are totally marmite-free and so are his witches. The characters I loved all those years ago still have the power to thrill today. Dahl's witches are fantastically gruesome cadaverous old harpies with rash-covered bald heads, claw-tipped fingers and deformed, toeless feet. These ghastly ghouls are all the more disturbing because they know how to hide beneath seemingly perfect exteriors.

It's this ability to perfectly blend the vile and repellent with the seemingly-sweet that's so unique to Roald Dahl: "A REAL WITCH gets the same pleasure from squelching a child as you get from eating a plateful of strawberries and thick cream" is a golden example of his wordy-genius. Who else can tell tales of child-murder while leaving his reader salivating over a creamy pudding?

I'd recommend this book to anyone. There's a reason they called the annual prize celebrating sidesplitting kids' books the `ROALD DAHL Funny Prize'. Dahl has a way of hitting you with mad ideas that leave you giggling at inappropriate moments long after you've forgotten other stories. I love the fact that I'm still suspicious of sweet old ladies who wear gloves indoors and scratch their heads too often.

In summary - read it!
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The Witches: Plays for Children by Roald Dahl (Paperback - 3 Sept. 2009)
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