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When I was a kid, there were a few important facts I made sure to remember when it came to fighting the supernatural (because as we all know, little boys everywhere are at all times prepared to do battle with the forces of darkness). One, vampires don’t have reflections and can be killed with a stake through the heart. Two, werewolves come out only on full moons and can be killed by silver bullets. And three, witches, who are in truth only demons in human form, are bald-headed, claw-handed, square-footed, funny-eyed child-killers. Thank you, Roald Dahl.
I can’t stress enough just how much I adore the works of Roald Dahl, and The Witches is easily one of my favorites. The Witches is a book about an unnamed young boy who, having recently lost his parents in a car accident, goes to live with his grandmother. She tells him all about witches and her previous encounters with their ilk. She reveals that all witches hate children and want to kill them because the smell of a child is particularly off-putting to witches. Needless to say, reading this as a kid was pretty scary. This sets the scene for one of the coolest supernatural children’s adventures ever. Unable to leave the country on a planned vacation due to the grandmother’s illness, the pair journeys instead to a luxury costal hotel. What could possibly go wrong? Nothing—other than the fact that all of England’s witches just happen to be having their yearly convention at the same hotel! I really don’t want to give anything else away, in case someone reading this post hasn’t read the book before. I will say that after first reading it, I looked at the hands and hair of every single woman I saw in public to see if she was wearing a wig and gloves (to cover her baldness and claws, of course!). Luckily, I never ran into any witches, and I eventually stopped checking for wigs and gloves. I did, however, continue to read and love the works of Roald Dahl.
October 24, 2012