Arriman the Awful, feared Wizard of the North, has decided to marry. But his wife must be a witch of the darkest powers . . .
A sorcery competition is held to discover which witch is the most potent and fiendish, and glamorous Madame Olympia conjures up a thousand plague-bearing rats Belladonna, the white witch, desperately wants to be a wicked enchantress, but her magic produces flowers instead of snakes. How can she become more devilish than all the other witches?
Which Witch is another one of my childhood favorites! While I was going through my Harry Potter phase (which I haven’t quite grown out of. 🙂 ), I needed other books to fill my time. My mother insisted. I might have read the first four Harry Potter books ten or more times each. I found Ibbotson’s quirky, witch romance when I was eleven or so, and I’ve loved it ever since!
Ibbotson has a similar writing style to Diana Wynne Jones, but without as much sass. The whole premise of Which Witch is Arriman needs to marry to keep the balance of evil. But he doesn’t want to marry a witch. . . because they are ugly and have weird habits. His somewhat arrogant personality, mixed in with brilliant prose and sarcastic banter makes this book just as charming for adults as it does for children.
Ibbotson has a magical way of writing children’s stories. When I was young, Ibbotson’s quirky characters happily danced along every page of the book. The tone in this story feels somewhat like Revolting Rhymes by Roald Dahl, where horrible things happen but they’re brushed off with dry, British humor.
All the characters, except for Belladonna, are wonderfully strange and awful. Each witch has too much ambition for their own good and is ugly enough to make Arriman regret being talked into marrying anyone. Some of my favorite moments in the book were between Arriman and his butler Lester because Lester acts more like a lamentable teenager’s nanny than part of his staff.
I have nothing bad to say about any of the characters. They fit well within this delightfully, snarky Beauty Pageant esque love story. (Except the beauty contestants are ugly contestants.) I do like the good witch Belladonna and I’m glad she got her happy ending along with Terence.
Arriman could not see Belladonna, who was hidden behind a thorn tree, but he could see Mabel Wrack, whose sea slug had fallen over one eye, and Ethel Feedbag, a burnt jackdaw feather sticking to her chin. He cuold see Mother Bloodwort and he could see the Shouter twins, and when he’d seen them he turned and tried to scramble down the rock.
Belladonna: ‘Tell me, is he really . . . as marvelous as he looks?’
Mr. Leadbetter thought. Pictures came to mind. Arriman shrieking with rage when he lost his suspenders. Arriman filling the bath with electric eels and giggling. Arriman ordering twelve stinking emus for the zoo and leaving his secretary to unpack them . . .
Arriman was as happy as a lark. Whatever else happened, he wouldn’t have to marry the with with the Wellies. all through supper he laughed and joked until he went upstairs, heard the steady drip-drip of water, and found that the kraken had climbed onto his bed.
For future reference, I would love to be tagged in any book initiatives! For this post, I am doing a Tag Tuesday post from Meeghan @ Meeghan Reads. Today I will list the top 5 books I wish I could have read as a child.
Once, in a cottage above the cliffs on the Dark Sea of Darkness, there lived three children and their trusty dog Nugget. Janner Igiby, his brother Tink, their crippled sister Leeli are gifted children as all children are, loved well by a noble mother and ex-pirate grandfather. But they will need all their gifts and all that love to survive the evil pursuit of the venomous Fangs of Dang who have crossed the dark sea to rule the land with malice and pursue the Igibys who hold the secret to the lost legend and jewels of good King Wingfeather of the Shining Isle of Anniera.
Andrew Peterson spins a quirky and riveting tale of the Igibys’ extraordinary journey from Glipwood’s Dragon Day Festival and a secret hidden in the Books and Crannies Bookstore, past the terrifying Black Carriage, clutches of the horned hounds and loathsome toothy cows surrounding AnkleJelly Manor, through the Glipwood Forest and mysterious treehouse of Peet the Sock Man (known for a little softshoe and wearing tattered socks on his hands and arms), to the very edge of the Ice Prairies.
Full of characters rich in heart, smarts, and courage, On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness presents a world of wonder and a tale children of all ages will cherish, families can read aloud, and readers’ groups are sure to discuss for its layers of meaning about life’s true treasure and tangle of the beautiful and horrible, temporal and eternal, and good and bad.
Since childhood, I’ve loved stories that depict the battle between good and evil. I started reading this book last summer, and I marveled at Andrew Petersen’s quirky sense of humor, magical prose, and emphasis on childhood’s place in depicting good people standing up to evil in their life. I love the characters, setting, and beautiful messages scattered throughout this and the other Wingsfeather sequels. If I could travel back in time and give my childhood self this book, I would!
So this is a story about light and goodness and Truth with a capital T. It’s about beauty, and resurrection, and redemption. But for those things to ring true in a child’s heart, the storyteller has to be honest. He has to acknowledge that sometimes when the hall light goes out and the bedroom goes dark, the world is a scary place. He has to nod his head to the presence of all the sadness in the world; children know it’s there from a very young age, and I wonder sometimes if that’s why babies cry. He has to admit that sometimes characters make bad choices, because every child has seen their parent angry or irritable or deceitful–even the best people in our lives are capable of evil.
But of course the storyteller can’t stop there. He has to show in the end there is a Great Good in the world (and beyond it). Sometimes it is necessary to paint the sky black in order to show how beautiful is the prick of light. Gather all the wickedness in the universe into its loudest shriek and God hears it as a squeak at best. And that is a comforting thought. When a child reads the last sentence of my stories, I hope he or she drifts to sleep with a glow in their hearts and a warmth in their bones, believing that all shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.
Out of this wild night, a strange visitor comes to the Murry house and beckons Meg, her brother Charles Wallace, and their friend Calvin O’Keefe on a most dangerous and extraordinary adventure—one that will threaten their lives and our universe.
I might be one of the few people in The United States who did not read this book in Middle School. I knew it existed, but didn’t think it would interest me. (I was REALLY into fantasy books back then.) I read A Wrinkle In Time when I was 26 and instantly regretted I didn’t take the time to read it as a child. I struggled knowing my self worth for much of my childhood. Meg and I could have been best friends facing these uncertainties together. Alas, it never was.
You mean you’re comparing our lives to a sonnet? A strict form, but freedom within it? Yes. Mrs. Whatsit said. You’re given the form, but you have to write the sonnet yourself. What you say is completely up to you.
For Milo, everything’s a bore. When a tollbooth mysteriously appears in his room, he drives through only because he’s got nothing better to do. But on the other side, things seem different. Milo visits the Island of Conclusions (you get there by jumping), learns about time from a ticking watchdog named Tock, and even embarks on a quest to rescue Rhyme and Reason! Somewhere along the way, Milo realizes something astonishing. Life is far from dull. In fact, it’s exciting beyond his wildest dreams.
Sad story of my youth, I never read this book till I was in college. Norton Juster did a marvelous job taking all the quirky Colloquialisms and rules in the English language and putting them to story. It feels like Alice in Wonderland but with proper grammar rules. I really liked Eva Ibbotson‘s books as a kid, and The Phantom Tollbooth feels like it could fit into one of her stories!
You must never feel badly about making mistakes … as long as you take the trouble to learn from them. For you often learn more by being wrong for the right reasons than you do by being right for the wrong reasons.
A sci-fi drama of a high school aged girl who belongs in a different time, a boy possessed by emptiness as deep as space, an alien artifact, mysterious murder, and a love that crosses light years.
To Amy, everyone has a flavor. Her mom is the flavor of mint–sharp and bright. Her dad is like hot chocolate–sweet and full of gentle warmth.
Amy lives on a mining colony in out in deep space, but when her dad loses his job the entire family is forced to move back to Earth. Amy says goodbye to her best friend Jemmah and climbs into a cryotube where she will spend the next 30 years frozen in a state of suspended animation, hurtling in a rocket toward her new home. Her life will never be the same, but all she can think about is how when she gets to Earth, Jemmah will have grown up without her.
When Amy arrives on Earth, she feels like an alien in a strange land. The sky is beautiful but gravity is heavy and the people are weird. Stranger still is the boy she meets at her new school–a boy who has no flavor.
I. Love. This. Series! I went parousing through Webtoons and came across Stephen McCranie’s series in a featured spotlight. I had read several other webtoons and not been impressed, but I liked the art so I gave it a try. I am so glad I did. I love everything about this series and look forward to new chapters every week. Though I am glad I read this as an adult, I really think my younger self would have ate up this story’s beautiful art and depictions of school life. I also think I would have understood and identified with the character Oliver.
Oliver, men like you and I don’t make promises unless we can keep them.
Oliver’s Father, Episode 140
The story of the new kid in town – little Yotsuba, a green-haired and wide-eyed girl who doesn’t have a clue… about anything! With no knowledge of the world around her, and an unnatural fear of air conditioners, Yotsuba has her new neighbors’ heads spinning.
Yotusbato is one of the most relaxing manga I’ve ever read. Yotsuba is such a cute little girl, and the author Azuma Kiyohiko is so funny! When I read it for the first time, I had so many times I laughed so hard I cried. I didn’t read manga as a kid, but if I could give myself a headstart into the Japanese reading world, I would give myself Yotsubato and smile.
Yotsuba: I’ll get revenge! … I’m going!
Jumbo (in a suffering manner): Yotsuba… please, come back alive…
Yotsuba (heroic): Alright. Even if I die… I’ll come back alive.