More Voyager later. I still have some on the Tivo to watch. But Spike has been messing with the schedule, so who knows when or if I’ll be able to resume after I finish the.. 8, I think, that I have left on the Tivo. Stupid Spike. In other news, I have Torchwood and all of the Highlander TV series on DVD. Which I may need, since the new Fall season has been a big disappointment.
Anyway, onward! To my review of two Halloween books that didn’t have “Halloween” in the title, so I couldn’t review them over on Triple Take.
Oh, wow, lie! This does have Halloween in the title. Whoopsy.
Old Witch Rescues Halloween by Wende and Harry Devlin (1972)
I grabbed this because it looked familiar. But after having read it, it didn’t really ring any bells. Maybe I read other books in the series?
Rich white guy declares there won’t be Halloween, and people listen to him, because he’s rich. And a white guy. But Old Witch is having none of that. So he kidnaps her and locks her up. But a crow helps her get a broom. And then she shows up at his rally, or whatever. And he dumps his pitcher of water on her!!
But, fortunately, she doesn’t melt. Fyew.
She turns him into a frog. She rallies the townsfolk to fight for Halloween. Then turns him back. And he’s all ‘yay halloween’. And then they have a party.
And it’s really kind of a weird narrative (ack, I just used the word narrative in a sentence) because there’s this sort of detachment from Old Witch, who seems to be the protagonist. She doesn’t say a whole lot. She sings a little song, she talks to herself and the crow (9 words total there), she chants a spell. Then she’s got 2 lines to psyche up the crowd. And then like 4 words at the end of the book. None of what she says is part of an actual conversation.
It does add to the picture of her as the eccentric old woman who nobody in the town talks to and then hangs as a witch. Except.. she seems to have friends, and the townsfolk aren’t against her.
In the end, a better book than some of the other ones I read.
The Candy Witch by Steven Kroll (1979)
I saw this on the booksale rack at the library and I was all ‘I remember that book!’ I flipped through it briefly and decided ‘I liked this book!’ I didn’t buy it quickly enough before it vanished. (I had had a brief thought that I should save it for some other kid to find and love.)
But then later I saw it in the children’s room, sans dust jacket, but in recognizable orange with the candy witch embossed in a corner of the cover. Hurray for books that don’t require a dust jacket to be recognizable.
Maggie is a witch, in a family of witches (and warlocks). She likes sticking candy in people’s pockets and filling fridges with food, but her family doesn’t notice the good deeds she does. So she gets fed up and sets out to get noticed. She starts playing tricks on people. Lizards out of bathroom faucets, frogs in pockets, milk turning into flowers. Nothing too malicious or dangerous, but not very nice either.
But her family still doesn’t notice! So she waits until all the kids have gone trick or treating and then steals their candy bags. They get sad. She feels remorse. She talks to her family. Then she throws a candy festival to make it all better.
I couldn’t tell you exactly what appealed to me about this as a kid, but I’ll try.
The colors of the book are shades of orange, black, and purple. It’s really inspired, I think. Perfect for a Halloween book. Maggie is drawn so simply I think even I could reproduce her. So definitely accessible and appealling artwork all around.
She sticks candy in people’s pockets! And there’s one scene where she has all the trick or treat bags piled up on a rooftop with her. What’s not to love about that? Candy!!
Unfortunately, with my 2010 old-fogey eyes, I did notice a flaw. There’s two questionable costumes the kids are wearing. One’s dressed as the typical ‘Indian chief’ and another looks to be a gypsy fortune-teller. If this book were to be republished today, I hope they would skillfully modify or excise those two, but leave the rest of the book untouched.
I find it a little odd that the costumes are all generic. That is, there’s no Spiderman or C3PO. But the candy specifically references Hershey’s kisses and M&M’s. Also, who has peppermints and jelly beans on Halloween? Weirdos! And she’s got fountains of lemonade at her party. Lemonade and candy? Gross. Why wasn’t it apple cider?
Anyway, I still love this book. And that’s why I had to review it somewhere. And that’s why I’m kind of sad I didn’t buy it from the booksale after all.