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Witch Week (The Chrestomanci Series, Book 3) Paperback – 5 Feb 2001

4.9 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollinsChildren'sBooks; World Book Day edition edition (5 Feb. 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007117736
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007117734
  • Product Dimensions: 19.2 x 13 x 1.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,947,001 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

“…Her hallmarks include laugh-aloud humour, plenty of magic and imaginative array of alternate worlds. Yet, at the same time, a great seriousness is present in all of her novels, a sense of urgency that links Jones’s most outrageous plots to her readers’ hopes and fears…”
Publishers Weekly

From the Back Cover

The note said: SOMEONE IN THIS CLASS IS A WITCH.
It was written in ordinary blue ballpoint and had appeared between two of the homework books Mr Crossley was marking.
Anyone could have written it, but the most awful thing was, the note might be true – for this was a school for witch-orphans. The last thing Miss Cadwallader, the Headteacher, would want was a visit from the Divisional Inquisitor.
Mr Crossley wondered what to do about it…

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Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on 5 July 2000
Format: Hardcover
I stole this book from my school library when I was ten (sorry St Bernadettes) because I couldn't bear not to have it (I didn't have money then). I've read it so many times I know it by heart..I love the way Jones can create scenes and characters so evocative you can practically smell the stench of the school changing rooms, feel the disgust of school dinners and feel pride when her heroes triumph (and wish you knew them). She introduces ideas that seem so plausible you find yourself convinced that you too are a witch and cast spells on people who deserve a comeuppance...Yeah, so I'm 22 years old but I still believe that Crestomanci exists somewhere, in one of the alternative worlds than run parallel to this, and why shouldn't he? Jones helped take my imagination beyond the grey corners of my life in Manchester, and for that I'll always be grateful.
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By Kate Hopkins TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 24 April 2012
Format: Paperback
I read this book first when I was eight - now, 25 years later, I still read it with immense pleasure. Diana Wynne Jones was such a wonderful writer because she could blend the supernatural with reality brilliantly. 'Witch Week' is both a glorious depiction of the horrors of boarding school, and a very funny story about the use of magic, and how it can go horribly wrong very quickly. Wynne Jones takes us to another world, like ours but subtly different (an ongoing theme of many of her books) in which witchcraft is acknowledged but witches are regarded as criminals and burnt. When a master at Larwood House, a boarding school for orphans and 'difficult' children, receives an anonymous letter telling him that someone in the class is a witch, a veritable hunt begins - meanwhile Charles, Nirupam and Nan, all three unhappy bullied pupils, begin to discover their own magical powers, with strange results! As the situation becomes more chaotic, Nan and her friend Estelle are forced to call on powerful help, summoning the magician Chrestomanci (a character who features in several of Jones's novels). And what he has to tell them comes as a considerable surprise...

The best thing about this wonderful book are the characters, who Jones brings to life brilliantly. I once worked with someone exactly like the smug and self-satisfied Simon Silverson, and so read the 'Simon Says' spell section with considerable pleasure.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I have read this wonderful, funny book regularly over the years - I love to read it in October - because it's set around Halloween and gets me in the mood ha ha. A great book for children and adults alike - best of all for adults to read to children. Teachers might like to read this to the class too.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
One of the best opening paragraphs of any book (for children or adult). Deliciously chaotic plot and never predictable until the end. The cast of characters is quirky and fun. The only problem is that the book winds up much too quickly in the last couple of paragraphs, almost as if Diana Wynne Jones was running out of pages. Pity. Otherwise, a real classic.
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Format: Kindle Edition
The story is mostly told through the viewpoint of four miserable pupils in Class 2Y – Charles Morgan, Nan Pilgrim, Brian Wentworth and Nirupam Singh. Right from the beginning, there is a strong sense of tension running through the narrative – for witches are strictly forbidden and the fate of anyone using magic is to be interrogated, tortured and then burnt. This being Wynne Jones, we don’t just have a strong sense of fear and tension running throughout the story – there are also moments of farce and laugh-aloud humour.

One of the things I love most about these books is that Wynne Jones doesn’t underestimate how much children understand. There is a whole lot within the story that is implied, rather than spelt out. Mr Wentworth’s fractured relationship with his son, Brian; Charles’ constant black fury and Nan’s desperate yearning to be good at something – even if it is riding around the bathroom on a frisky broomstick tired of being cooped up in the groundsman’s shed.

Although there are shafts of humour, life at Larwood House is no Mallory Towers. The children are divided into cliques, or mercilessly picked upon if they stand out – like Nan and Brian. While the class leaders, Simon and Theresa, spend most of their time mocking their less fortunate peers.

My granddaughter strongly connected with poor Nan Pilgrim, who takes comfort in being descended from the infamous Dulcinea Wilkes, but to be honest, none of the children are particularly pleasant, apart from Estelle. And this is one of the reasons why Wynne Jones is such a clever writer – their surly/victimised attitudes didn’t stop both of us really caring what happens to them,or poor harrowed Mr Wentworth.
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