Terrific, elaborate illustrations can't compensate for Nightingale's story of Witch Widdershins's nasty machinations to rid the world of beauty. The witch and her gang--Lumpet, Sniggle, and Grimstnne--commandeer an abandoned cottage. Widdershins needs peace in which to work on her greatest spell, ""to destroy all the pretty, soppy things in the garden,"" replacing them with ""everything horrible, dark and grotty."" She flings upon the land one rude concoction after another: One dose yields brown leaves and fading flowers (she likes the results, even if they are a tad mild, while readers know that it is autumn); the next dose carpets the earth in snow (she had intended to wash out all the color, but ""I must have overdone the bleach. This is no good, this is pretty!""). Her last spell results in the dusky lightning of early spring. This pleases her, so she decides to take a good long snooze until mid-April, when she awakens to the glories of spring. She goes ballistic, rockets out the chimney in a cloud of soot, and is never heard from again. The conceit is promising, making it all the more baffling why such an old crone is oblivious to the seasons, and why she hasn't yet mastered her magic.