Wednesday, June 5, 2013


And just what does a paradoxically avid kid-lid reader, who already has some three big books banging hard due to their review submission date coming close and who is barely and that too rarely getting any time to do anything sane of late, do, when she unexpectedly gets a day- forcibly away from work??

Yes! Read a Roald Dahl. What else.

And I mentioned 'paradoxically' basically because, although I believe myself to have read 'kidlit' the most, among all the reading that I have chanced upon, the book I picked up today is only the second of Roald Dahl. And all that, because of an autobiographical extract of the author, that we were made to understand at school, and which had become torturously boring due to repetition.

Anyway, past is past. All I understand today is the simple fact that eventually and finally, my roads have lead me to Roald Dahl, the king of kidlit.

And here's the review of the book for you... Enjoy...

Title: The Witches
Author: Roald Dahl

I can bet that you would not agree that old grandma's bedtime tales of witches and fairies, of lands far away and their kings could ever have been true. Yes, I can bet on it. Because so did I believe - or rather not believe in the truth behind the tales grannies told. Until I stumbled upon this book.

A little boy gets to live with his grandmother after he loses his parents to a road accident. The grandmother, or grandmumma, as the boy calls her, is a retired witchophile - someone who has studied witches and knows a lot about them. She tells him tales about how she has seen witches take little children away, what do the witches look like, how can they be spotted, what they like and what they want and so on.

The little child does not believe all this, until he is approached by a lady - who tames snakes and has all the signs of a witch that grandma has told him. Luckily he escapes this time. But not the next time. The next time he is the unfortunate victim of not one, but rather, some 84 witches tall and strong. Or so to say, all the witches of England and their overall administrative head put together. Poor boy! But no longer a boy. He gets transformed into a mouse!

The good thing, however is that incomplete magic allows him to communicate and he has already understood properly, the reality of witches and all the evil plans they have, for finishing all the kids of England.

One must surely read the book and find out whether the transformation into a mouse causes a sense of revenge to bloom in the little one, or he plans to embark on adventures that only mice can. Do read the book and find out what happens to the boy-turned-mouse eventually! Trust me, the book ends exactly as it must.

I love to read kid-lit mainly because it is a delight reading what grown-ups write for kids, what kids actually derive from it, what they are supposed to derive, and most importantly, what obvious lessons these books give that we generally overlook.

It is strange that simple things reveal so much. Through this book, aren't the kids being taught to try overcome their greed and not accept offerings by strangers. Aren't the kids being taught that it is okay if some misfortunes strike you. You must pick your pieces and move ahead.

Well, one thing that caught my notice was the behaviour of witches. Whatever may be the case, the evil wants to hide behind the garb of normalcy! Often, what appears to be the sweetest, may be the most evil thing around. Something like a sugar coated poison. But nonetheless, the good thing is that there is, more often than not, some good always working to undo the wrong. History illustrates, that ultimately in the long run, it is the good that can sustain.

So, Goodbye Witches!


  1. Your review brought a smile on my face. A nice and happy review yet packing all that was to be reported about the Witches. Especially liked the part that you have written on why you like reading kidlit.

    More kidlit coming your way, I can assure :)

  2. Thank you so much!!

    Looking forward to the books...!!