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- First editions:
- Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1983, USA.
- Jonathan Cape, 1983, Great Britain.
- Illustrated by: Quentin Blake
- Challenged in Spencer, Wisconsin because “it desensitizes children to crime related to witchcraft.”
- The protagonist’s two white mice are named William and Mary, the same as the (human) couple in “William and Mary”
- Related books:
- The Witches (1990)
- The Witches adapted by David Wood
- Audio Books:
- 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 (New York Times)
- New York Times Outstanding Books Award (USA 1983)
- Whitbread Award (UK 1983)
- Federation of Children’s Book Groups Award (UK 1983)
Criticism and Analysis
- “Boil, Boil, Toil and Trouble: a critical look at the controversy over Roald Dahl’s The Witches“
- Essay by Elizabeth Oliver published in The Looking Glass
- “Of Necessity, Children’s Books Must Be Simple, Limiting, Bland and Sentimental – The Elements of Fear Presented in “The Witches” and “Little Mouse’s Big Book of Fears“”
- Essay by Mihaela Olaru
- “Women Behaving Badly: Dahl’s Witches Meet the Women of the Eighties” (PDF)
- Essay by Anne-Marie Bird published in Children’s Literature in Education
- The Witches – Classroom Activities
- Includes a few activities based on the story
- The Witches – Writing Across the Curriculum
- Letter-writing activity involving population statistics