First, Falinda the witch is not a broomstick-riding hag but a white witch, which is to say a folk healer. And Shadow is the name of her black-cat companion, who follows her everywhere but suddenly disappears. Disconsolate, the witch apologetically turns down the village children's offer of substitute cats, and when she takes in a striped stray kitten who won't go away it's with the understanding that ""no one could take the place of her Shadow."" This is not, then, what you might expect from the title, but rather--with Felinda finally adopting the kitten after a moment of fear that he too might have run off--a relatively pawky specific for a child still recovering from the loss of a pet. Noble's sedate, old-timey pictures in muted tones nicely suit the story's real business.