The Witches – Roald Dahl

Standard

Penguin Australia

November 2020

ISBN: 9780241438817

Imprint: Puffin

RRP: $14.99

Oh yes!! it’s arrived!! the scrumpdiddlyumptious new The Witches on the screen and in the book!!! Thank you so much to Penguin Australia for not only the opportunity to have the brand new edition of the original book with a whizzbanging new movie tie-in cover but the double pass to see the movie! The Kid might be a cool teen but she was still hugely excited when she first saw the trailer for the new movie and it was no disappointment.

Roald Dahl’s subversive dark humour is an enduring hit with children from mid-primary upwards and is a regular ‘go to’ even for older kids. The Witches is one book that totally encapsulates that and has long been a favourite with kiddos of all reading ages and abilities.

We both loved the movie when we rocked up to see it yesterday. Yes, it’s very different to the earlier version (which to be honest was always a disappointment both to fans and to Dahl himself, with perhaps the exception of Mai Zetterling – did you know she lived in Australia for a time? I didn’t!). The new version, directed by Robert Zemecki, has transported the setting to Alabama with main characters of colour – the immensely talented Octavia Spencer and young ‘Hero Boy’ Jahzir Bruno (narrated as the older version by Chris Rock) and the addition of a brilliant Grand High Witch courtesy of Anne Hathaway – perfection! – and always hilarious, hotel manager Stanley Tucci. I loved that the witches and action were edgier and far more attuned (I think) to Dahl’s original intention of this warning to children that evil is real but that those who dare can defeat it.

The new edition of the book may have a new dress on but it is still the book we know and love with all the quirkiness of weird fonts for emphasis and the inimitable Quentin Blake illustrations. Without doubt it remains one of my top Dahl reads. I just love so much that the ‘weak’ can overcome the powerful with enough faith and ingenuity – what a powerful message to share with our readers that is! As Dahl himself said ‘Somewhere inside all of us is the power to change the world.’

This was a package to inspire huge smiles all round – my only dilemma will be whether to add this new edition to my existing Dahl collection or to offer it up as highly sought after prize to my kiddos at school.

You know you will, so I likely don’t need to recommend and please please remember that ‘“It doesn’t matter who you are or what you look like, so long as somebody loves you.”’ – The Witches

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