Children’s Book of the Week – The Worst Witch by Jill Murphy
Regular readers of Cardiff Mummy Says will know The Worst Witch is one of the 22 films from the 1980s I want my children to watch before they are 11.
Before they’re allowed to see the film, I wanted them to read the book. Because I don’t think you’re ever too young to learn the lesson that the book is always better than the film.
I’ve been reading the book, written by Jill Murphy and first published way back in 1974, with Little Miss E, my 5¾ year old daughter, and having finished it a couple of days ago, I’m thrilled that she loved it as much as I did as a child.
She enjoyed it so much, in fact, that she kept sneaking off to read it without me! I had to ask her to wait for Mummy before reading any further because I really wanted to share it with her.
The Worst Witch tells of Mildred Hubble, a young witch-in-training at Miss Cackle’s Academy for Witches. Mildred tries hard but just can’t do anything right. She’s continually causing chaos and getting into trouble. She can’t fly her broomstick without crashing, never mind getting her kitten to sit on the back while airborne. She completely messes up her potion test and makes herself and best friend Maud Moonshine disappear, instead of the required laughing. She’s taunted by her arch enemy, the prim, proper and perfect Ethel Hallow, and her strict class teacher, Miss Hardbroom, doesn’t like her much either.
When Ethel puts a spell on Mildred’s broomstick in a fit of revenge, it causes Mildred to ruin the broomstick display at the school’s prestigious Halloween celebrations and she runs away in disgrace.
However, when Mildred comes across a group of revengeful witches, lead by Miss Cackle’s evil twin sister, in the woods, plotting to turn the whole school into frogs, in true underdog style, she uses her magic to save the day.
Miss E absolutely adored this book – and I absolutely loved reading it again. We started off reading a chapter a night, but binge-read six of the 10 chapters in one sitting, as she was so keen to finish it.
At only 100 pages long, and with large text on the pages, this is a perfect introduction to chapter books for children aged between about five and eight. It’s a little dark, with spells and potions, but it’s not scary as such. It’s a very heart-warming book.
Miss E was thrilled to see on the back cover that there are six other books in the series. She’s already suggested she can ask for some more for Father Christmas… and even if she hadn’t, I think he’d be bringing her some anyway.
Have you read The Worst Witch with your children? What did you think? Do let me know in the comments section below, on the Cardiff Mummy Says Facebook page or by tweeting me on @cardiffmummy
You can read more about our favourite children’s books here.
Ooooohh, I lovrd this series too. Will definitely read it with my girls. Great post!
Hope you enjoy them as much as you did as a child… and hope your daughters do too. They’re such fab books and have really stood the test of time. x
Not read this one but I suspect Caitlin would love it.
One to add to the Christmas/birthday list. Such fab books. I’m looking forward to reading some more from the series. x
I had forgotten all about these books but it’s coming flooding back – one to revisit in a few years
Oh yes, definitely do! It was exactly how I remembered it. Add it to your wish list! x
I had no idea this was a film too! I love that your little one was sneaking off to read it … it’s great when children enjoy reading.
She is definitely a book worm! The film is brilliant in a cheesy 80s way. Definitely recommend it – it’s on YouTube! x
This would be a good one for Halloween. Think its too old for eva at the mo though x
One to add to the list for when she is older. And yes, perfect for Halloween for younger children as they are slightly spooky but not too scary. x
I loved these books when I was younger, I’ll have to get my daughter into them!
Oh yes, do! I hope she enjoys them. It’s so lovely being able to revisit the books as a grown up. I was amazed how much I remembered!x
I LOVED the worst witch when I was a kid. I loved the film and then the tv show. I used to act it out in the playground. Being a kid from the 80s there are so many books I can’t wait to share. This one definitely with my daughter. Glad it went down well. There are so many in this range now too, they are great. x
It’s so lovely revisiting books with your children, isn’t it? We’re also reading Roald Dahl and Enid Blyton and it’s amazing how well they have stood the test of time. I’m looking forward to reading the rest of the series with Miss E. Such fab books. x
I feel like I am missing out because I don’t think I’ve read this!
Add it to your wish list! It’s fab. Or you could watch the 80s film on YouTube!
I haven’t heard of this before, it looks great though. My older ones loved Room on a Broom! Kaz x