The Hippity Dippity Witch 1- Trouble in Willow Grove( Ages 6 to 9)
By : Lorraine O`Byrne
Publisher : Booktrope ( Aug.,2015)
Lorraine O`Byrne, inspired by her love for animals in her farm, combined with her life long passion for writing, delivers this wonderful timeless classic of an enchanted wood with talking animals and witches. For some unexplained reason it reminded me of The Wind in the Willows and The Wizard of Oz. But there is a touch of modernity and simplicity in this one.
It has many merits to qualify as a brilliant early reading material. A fast paced compelling story, yet relatively short with only sixty seven pages comprising sixteen short chapters. Written in simple language with distinctive literature descriptions and some powerful word choices, the book would be an ideal introduction to literature.
The early chapters describe a typical guilt stricken and a fearful girl wanting to skip school for not attending to her homework. Jenny tries to persuade her mother that she`s sick, not only does she fail, but her mother`s lack of attention to her, due to the new-born baby in her arms, makes her feels like crying. With a heavy heart, she steps outside. Jenny, remembering Miss Harington`s punishments for children changes her mind while walking to school and decides to go elsewhere .As she stays hidden behind Mr.Hayes`s wall feeling cold with cramped legs worried and uncertain she catches a glimpse of the rolling hills and the Willow Grow beyond. O`Byrne has captured the mental turmoil of this eight-year-old girl so cleverly in this instance.
Looking forward to enjoying her morning with her friends, Jenny walks to Willow Grove. The author`s literature descriptions are no less magnificent than the story. Having crossed the fields passing the worrisome village, Jenny`s walk towards Willow Grove is explained as ``The sun in her back/ a breeze in her hair/ and a spring in her step/ pushing her way over stones/ through gorse bushes and dense thickets`` so obviously a now light hearted girl, looking forward for a happy morning enters the enchanted woods. But many surprises await. She discovers that her animal friends are in misery and are terrorized by the Vengeance Witch Marigold Dimple, a feisty ten-year-old witch from Elderwood.
Temperamental Marigold, niece of Griselda, the well respected resident witch of Willow Grove has come to spend the summer with her aunt. She has poor witchcraft; her rhyming spells never work properly and she ends up creating havoc everywhere.``Hippity Dippity/ Boppity Boo/ Turn this cat into a shrew`` And the cat turns into a shoe but not a shrew.What happens after Marigold meets sweet and gentle Jenny is another complete surprise for Jenny. However in the end both girls learn their lessons and Jenny confesses her mother about skipping school.
The talking animals depicted with human characteristics, together with the witches Marigold and Griselda will engross readers till the end.There`s Elsie the deer, Cindy the squirrel lady who knits all the time to help her concentrate, Mr Noodle the owl who`s the resident inspector and many more.
The children will no doubt immensely enjoy every page of this funny, magical suspense story, and so would any literature-loving adult.
(With many thanks to Booktrope and Net Galley for the digital copy in return for a honest review)