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THE WITCH CASTS A SPELL by Suzanne Williams


by Suzanne Williams & illustrated by Barbara Olsen

Age Range: 4 - 8

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 2002
ISBN: 0-8037-2646-5
Publisher: Dial

Sung to the tune of “The Farmer in the Dell,” Williams’s (My Dog Never Says Please, 2000, etc.) charmer is a real Halloween treat. “The witch casts a spell, the witch casts a spell, / Such sights are seen on Halloween, the witch casts a spell.” Olsen’s imaginative illustrations, rendered in vibrant acrylics and mixed-media collage on handmade paper, provide just the right accompaniment. In the opening spread, for example, a witch prepares party food while her scarecrow beau reads “The Daily Hoot.” Below, a band of antique white frames a frieze of witches on broomsticks and cats. The format repeats as the evening progresses. “The goblins lead the way, the goblins lead the way, / Such sights are seen on Halloween, the goblins lead the way,” writes Olsen as the group heads to a party. Olsen, a self-taught artist who makes her picture-book debut here, enlivens each spread with fabric swatches and humorously doodled details. Party snacks, for example, include literal finger foods, long wrinkly digits painted red at the end. The pairing of Olsen’s busy artwork and Williams’s bare-boned adaptation is right on, making this a likely choice for fall read-alouds and sing-alongs. Musical notation is included for those unfamiliar with the tune. (Picture book. 4-8)