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Bedknobs and Broomsticks Paperback – Illustrated, 20 Sep 2001

4.4 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Orion Children's Books; New Ed edition (20 Sept. 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1842550721
  • ISBN-13: 978-1842550724
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 1.4 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 366,297 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Book Description

A new 2-in-1 edition of two favourite magical classics from the author of THE BORROWERS.

About the Author

Mary Norton wrote the award-winning classic THE BORROWERS.

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition
I loved Mary Norton's series about The Borrowers when I was young, and hadn't twigged that she was the author of Bedknobs and Broomsticks, which I knew only from the Disney film (which I have never seen). So when I saw this book in a charity shop, I was eager to read it and to share it with my eleven year old daughter. I'd tried The Borrowers on her a couple of years ago, but she had trouble following the plot, not least because of the many archaic items mentioned e.g. she had no idea what wainscotting was. For me, as an adult reader of a certain age, harking back to a simpler society of the era in which the books are set is part of their charm.

I was relieved that she (and my husband!) were both quickly engrossed in B&B when I read it aloud each night while we were away on holiday. The premise of it is very appealing, with three children despatched to the countryside into the quiet society of old ladies who don't understand children, and we share the scrapes they get into when they discover one of them is a witch, who has to bribe the children with a magic spell in order to stop them spilling the beans on her secret powers.

The adventures they subsequently have on the enchanted bed are very enjoyable and entertaining in the first part of the book, but in the second half, when they go back in time to meet a necromancer (I had to look that word up!), the mood is much darker, especially during the graphic and grisly description of the necromancer very nearly being burned at the stake, with flames lapping at his ankles. This was particularly horrific for my daughter because she is a vegetarian! We could have done without that detail.

However, Norton is a master storyteller and brilliant at ending chapters on cliffhangers, leaving readers of all ages clamouring for me.
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Format: Paperback
This book, and virtually all of its modern editions, consists of two novellas - "The Magic Bed-Knob" (1943) and "Bonfires and Broomsticks" (1945)- which were combined as "Bed-Knob and Broomstick" in 1957. The book is, of course, the source material for the 1971 Disney movie. My edition's cover is actually a production photo from the Disney movie, but despite that the book is in many ways different from the movie, and the book certainly isn't simply a novelization of the movie. (By way of comparison, this is similar to how very different the Mary Poppins books and the Mary Poppins movie are.)

What will be familiar is the three child characters - Carey, Charles and Paul - who were carried over whole into the movie. However, the witch, Ms. Price, is a very different and more complicated character in the book than she is portrayed to be by Angela Lansbury. The first novella is like the movie, in that the children discover Ms. Price's witchy tendencies, come into possession of the magic bed-knob, and have travel adventures. The second novella involves time travel and a necromancer from the seventeenth century, and almost none of that made it into the movie. World War II and soldiers play a major role in the movie, but there is no mention of the War from the 1957 edition onward.

All of that said, is the book worth a read? I would say yes, and suggest that in a number of particulars it is more satisfying, although less cinematic, than the Disney effort. In the book the children are more interesting and their relationships, and sibling conflicts, are more developed. They are polite but a bit reckless and spirited and they are the featured characters in the first novella. Ms.
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Format: Paperback
Review of The Magic Bedknob - not yet read Bonfires and Broomsticks, but will add to this when I do.

I never knew the writer of The Borrowers also wrote the book(s) that became Bedknobs and Broomsticks!! Had to try it. Seemed like I missed loads of classics when I was a child. No matter, I know now...

This, along with Bonfires and Broomsticks, make up the two stories about Miss Price, three children, and a magic bed - and their adventures. The three children, Carey, Charles and Paul, are staying with an aunt in the country, and one day spy a neighbour, Miss Price, crashing her broomstick in the garden. Paul has known for a while that she's been secretly practising her flying, and the three soon get her to admit that she is, in fact, a witch. And to buy their silence, should give them something magical. Yes, bribery - tut tut children.

But of course, it wouldn't be much of a story if she didn't agree. Paul has his bedknob in his pocket, and soon, his bed, takes them off on some magical adventures...

At less than 100 pages, this feels almost like a taster for another chapter in the story. I wanted more from it, though it's a great length for a 7-9 year old reader, or for even younger children to have read to them, with short chapters and lots happening.

Different to the film (where Miss Price accepts the three as evacuees), the essence is the same - she's a trainee (or novice), and adventures don't always go to plan. The children are fairly well characterised, the magical story the star of the show, of course. The references to a London of times past (dense fog, stereotypical policemen) will be good for a history discussion, though there isn't too much in here to make this feel too quaint or old-fashioned.

Wonderful wish fulfilment tale, you can see Norton's imagination here again. Will try and find the second book as well now. I'll be reading this to my son (4) in a year or two I expect. And finding the film again!
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