When the young hero of Roald Dahl’s story is orphaned in an automobile accident, he is left in the care of his aged grandmother—a formidable cigar-smoking lady who happens to be a retired expert on dealing with witches. In spite of her warnings about how to spot these horrific creatures, her grandson accidentally wanders into the annual convocation of the witches of England—and overhears the horrifying plans in store for every child in the country. But before he can escape to reveal the witches’ plot, he is captured and turned into a mouse. However, he is no ordinary mouse and this is no ordinary tale.
Along with a new introduction--in which James Patterson guarantees this book will "get kids addicted to reading!"--this thirtieth-anniversary edition includes photographs, reproductions of original manuscript pages, and a fascinating and funny reminiscence by editor Stephen Roxburgh on working with Roald Dahl.
Whitbread Award, American Library Association Notable Children’s Books, New York Times Book Review Notable Children’s Books of the Year, New York Times Outstanding Books of the Year
From ERICA JONG'S review in THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW:
“ ‘The Witches’ is a heroic tale. A schoolboy is transformed into a tiny mouse (with, however, the mind and language of a very bright child), and through his extraordinary bravery, he manages to save all the children of England from the same fate. Under the surface of this deceptively simple tale, which whizzes along and is great fun to read, lurks an interesting metaphor. This is the equation of childhood with mousedom. A child may be smaller than all the witchy, horrifying adults, but he can certainly outwit them. He is tiny and crushable, but he is also fast and well-nigh invisible. With the assistance of his benevolent Grandmamma (who hoists him up to things he can’t reach, secretes him in her handbag, feeds and cuddles him), he is able to outsmart nearly the whole adult world . . . The boy doesn’t mind being a mouse, he says, because ‘It doesn’t matter who you are or what you look like so long as somebody loves you.’ And, indeed, the hero of this tale is loved. Whether as a boy or a mouse, he experiences the most extraordinary and unqualified approval from his grandmother—the sort of unconditional love adults and children alike crave.”