With a gleam in her eye, little Philomene leaves her more timid friends and ventures into the fearsome dark forest. There she's captured by a wicked witch riding a huge bat and set to work as castle drudge. The unquenchable child trips the witch by scrubbing her floor slippery clean; thrown to the bat as a snack, she makes friends with him, and they sabotage the witch's magic before he takes her home. Just scary enough to be fun, the author's pen and watercolor illustrations are gently satirical and full of energy. Philomene is feisty and likable; her bat-monster is adorable; the witch comes to an understated but well-deserved demise. The author is French; the appeal, universal.