Sonderbooks Book Reviews by Sondra Eklund

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*****= An all-time favorite
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****The Witch's Walking Stick

by Susan Meddaugh

Reviewed December 17, 2006.
Walter Lorraine Books (Houghton Mifflin), 2005.  32 pages.

Susan Meddaugh’s books remind me of William Steig’s—delightful, imaginative and satisfying stories with cheery but detailed cartoon-like illustrations.

This book opens with an old witch and her magic walking stick.  “Over the years she had used it to make a thousand miserable wishes come true.”  It has just a little bit of magic left.  She particularly likes turning creatures into something worse—birds into bats and squirrels into goldfish (with no fishbowl) and things like that.

One day a cheerful little dog passes her on the path.  She raises her stick to turn it into something—and he thinks she wants to play and grabs it from her.  When she yells at him in fury, he runs away, still with the stick in his mouth.

Now we meet a little orphan named Margaret, forced to cook and clean and chop wood by her older and much bigger brother and sister.  When Margaret encounters the witch, the dog, and the walking stick, interesting things begin to happen.  Let’s just say that the use Margaret puts to the little bit of magic left in the witch’s walking stick is highly satisfying.

Copyright © 2006 Sondra Eklund.  All rights reserved.

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