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by Kevin Somers & illustrated by Diana Cain Bluthenthal

Age Range: 4 - 7

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2001
ISBN: 0-7868-0577-3
Publisher: Hyperion

This pedestrian telling of the mean-witch-goes-good story gets a saving fillip from the delightfully crabbed and scratchy artwork from Bluthenthal (Our Marching Band, p. 745, etc.). A dreadful old hag lives in a ruin of a hovel near a dismal swamp. She is the second-meanest creature in existence, right behind her truly despicable cat Hisss. For Halloween, she decides to concoct the most evil creature in the world, so she mixes together the usual sticky spiders and squishy snails and slithery snakes. Only she neglects to add the eye of newt, which is a big mistake, for what she hatches is the world’s most darling little girl, Daisy, surely named for the flowers that bloom in her pink hair. Try as she might to make Daisy miserable, the hag only succeeds in introducing her to new friends: Hisss (newly named Mr. Fluff), the worms in the apples that are her food, the rats in the dank basement that is her bedroom. And, of course, she even subverts the hag’s meanness by spooking her with a Halloween mask of the hag’s face. Storywise, ho hum, but marvel at Bluthenthal’s bent villains and radiant heroine. She even makes the rats look sweet. (Picture book. 4-7)