The Witches

Sections: Information | Description | Reviews | Awards | ArticlesCriticism and Analysis | Fun Stuff | Teacher Ideas | Covers | Bulgarian Catalan, Chinese, Czech, Dutch, EstonianFrench, German, GreekHebrew, Hindi, Korean, LithuanianNorwegian, PolishRussian, SerbianSlovakianSpanish, and Vietnamese Covers


Information on identifying editions is from Richard Walker’s “Roald Dahl – A Guide to Collecting His First Editions”.

  • First editions:
    • Jonathan Cape, 1983, UK.
      • Illustrated by: Quentin Blake
      • To identify: Used a standard single statement (‘First published’ followed by the date with no later printings listed underneath) and published with a dust jacket priced at £6.50, the rear flap of which does not have a copyright attribution to Quentin Blake.
    •  Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1983, USA.
      • Illustrated by: Quentin Blake
      • To identify: Used a limitation page outlining limitation of 300 copies and signed by Dahl and Blake. Published with a slipcase and not priced.
    • Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1983, USA.
      • Illustrated by: Quentin Blake
      • To identify: Used a standard First American Edition statement and published with a dust jacket priced at $10.95.
  • Other editions:
    • Scholastic, 2020, USA.
      • “The Witches: The Graphic Novel”
      • Illustrated by: Pénélope Bagieu
  • Censorship:
    • Challenged in Spencer, Wisconsin because “it desensitizes children to crime related to witchcraft.”
  • Connections:
    • The protagonist’s two white mice are named William and Mary, the same as the (human) couple in “William and Mary”
  • Buy this book:


This is not a fairy tale. This is about real witches.

Grandmamma loves to tell about witches. Real witches are the most dangerous of all living creatures on earth. There’s nothing they hate so much as children, and they work all kinds of terrifying spells to get rid of them. Her grandson listens closely to Grandmamma’s stories—but nothing can prepare him for the day he comes face-to-face with The Grand High Witch herself!


  • “The Boy Who Became a Mouse” by Erica Jong from November 13, 1983 edition of The New York Times – New York City, USA
  • “No black hats or broomsticks here” by Julian T. Martin from the July 15, 1984 issue of The Canberra Times – Canberra, Australia (read online)


  • New York Times Outstanding Books Award (USA 1983)
  • Whitbread Award (UK 1983)
  • Federation of Children’s Book Groups Award (UK 1983)


Criticism and Analysis

Fun Stuff

The Witches Quiz


Teacher Ideas


Bulgarian Covers – Вещиците

Catalan Covers – Les bruixes

Chinese Covers

Czech Covers – Čarodějnice

Dutch Covers – De heksen

Estonian Covers – Nõiad

French Covers – Sacrées Sorcières

German Covers – Hexen Hexen

Greek Covers – ΟΙ ΜΑΓΙΣΣΕΣ

Hebrew Covers

Hindi Covers

Korean Covers – 마녀를 잡아라

Lithuanian Covers – Raganos

Norwegian Covers – Heksene

Polish Covers – Wiedźmy

Russian Covers – Ведьмы

Serbian Covers – Ведьмы

Slovakian Covers – Čarodejnice

Spanish Covers – Las brujas

Vietnamese Covers – Phù Thủy, Phù Thủy