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Which Witch? Hardcover – August 1, 1999


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 9 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 4 - 7
  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Dutton Juvenile (August 1, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0525461647
  • ISBN-13: 978-0525461647
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 5.9 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (109 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,355,996 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Arriman the Awful, Loather of Light and Wizard of the North, needs a wife. How else can he have a wizard baby to carry on the family tradition of blighting and smiting, blasting and wuthering? The problem is, wizards can only marry one kind of person--a witch. Arriman dreads the thought. "A great black crone with warts and blisters in unmentionable places from crashing about on her broom! You want me to sit opposite one of those every morning eating my cornflakes?" But a witch it must be, so Arriman holds a contest to decide which witch. The local witches are all atwitter over what spell they'll perform for the contest--all except Belladonna, who is, to her great shame, a white witch. She looks rather like the girl on the Clairol Herbal Essence bottle, with a sweet face and flowing blonde hair. "There was usually something in Belladonna's hair: A fledgling blackbird parked there by its mother while she went to hunt for worms, a baby squirrel wanting somewhere safe to eat its hazel nuts, or a butterfly who thought she was a lily or a rose."

Black spells are cast, enchantments are woven, and even Belladonna manages to do a little damage in this wonderfully clever 1979 book by Eva Ibbotson (of The Secret of Platform 13). Young readers will delight in the way Ibbotson glories in the ghoulish and the gory--and in her engaging characters who are kindly and fiendish all at once. Which Witch (finally reissued in the United States) begs to be read aloud, with before-bed-length chapters and lots of opportunities for funny voices. (Ages 9 and older) --Claire Dederer

From School Library Journal

Grade 5-9-Arriman the Awful is weary of championing blackness and trying to raise the wife-murdering ghost of Darkington Hall, Sir Simon. When the predicted new wizard does not arrive, Arriman, who is tall, dark, and handsome, with just a bit of a foolish streak, reluctantly agrees to marry to insure an heir to the throne of darkness. The witches from the coven of Todcaster are invited to a contest to win his hand by performing the blackest trick possible. These witches are a sorry lot, especially beautiful Belladonna, who is good in spite of herself. Just when the dark horse, Madame Olympia, appears to have no equal, Belladonna's black magic is improved by an orphan, Terence Mugg. The contest is a splendor of blackness and evil and is not for the fainthearted, with everything from bottomless pits and krakens to cannibalistic mice. Ibbotson describes perfectly the hierarchy of this fantasy world; every spirit, witch, and ogre is true to form. The threads of the story are woven tightly and tied up neatly at the end. Terence, of course, is the new wizard. Belladonna and Arriman can retire to a cottage where he will write a book, and Madame Olympia and Sir Simon are joined in unholy matrimony. A zestful adventure, perfect for fans of "Harry Potter" (Scholastic) and Ibbotson's The Secret of Platform 13 (Dutton, 1998).
Marlene Gawron, Orange County Library, Orlando, FL
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

Really fun, though British terminology had to be explained to the kids.
R. Daniel Scheibe
Very originally written, with wonderful humor, crazy characters, events that will surprize you all the way through, and a nice twist at the end.
Kirsten Karns
I recommend this book for children, young teens or for anyone interested in fun and magical read.
Alegna Granados

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 18, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Although this book is intended for a bit younger readers than I am, I enjoyed it immensely! I found the characters so charming and the writer has avoided stereotyping them (even Belladonna, the white witch who seems like such a typical, innocent goodie at first, surprises you if you let her. I like the way she so desperately wants to become an evil witch). The humor has wit, pace and an occasional dark turn, just the way I like it. Arriman the Awful is definitely the most wicked and most ENDEARING wizard in all literature. Give this book a try, it won't take long and I bet you won't be disappointed!
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 13, 2000
Format: Hardcover
In the spirit of Roald Dahl, Eva Ibbotson knows that children love stories filled with ghosts, ghouls and witches...this is the story of Arriman, the greatest wizard in the world who can do anything.(except raise the dead) After years of "black magic" Arriman has grown weary of his life and wants to find a successor, but of course he can't find one. So he holds a contest to find a witch to help him produce an heir, but of course the lucky lady is sweet Belladonna, a "white witch".
Can Belladonna be the right witch for Arriman, and will you be just as enchanted as I was upon reading _Which Witch?_.
This is the kind of book that leaves you laughing after you put the book down...the book is magical!
If you liked this one, read _Secret of Platform 13_...that book will leave a twinkle in your eye as well.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 22, 2000
Format: Hardcover
If you are impatiently waiting for the next Harry Potter book as we were this will definately sustain you. Infact I can't wait for Eva Ibbotson's next book! This book is an intriguing combination of love and evil. Arriman, a black wizard seaches for a wife while the witches in the contest compete the outcome is a total surprise.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on April 19, 2001
Format: Paperback
After I had read Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, I had read many more books, hoping to find one that was equally enchanting. And it took quite a while for me to find one, until I stumbled onto this gem. This book is absolutely wonderful. Magic was present on nearly every page of this book, making me wonder about what surprises lay ahead. The ending is excellent, just how an ending should be; an ending in which everything was resolved and completed. If you love fantasy, if you love J.K. Rowling's, Rhoald Dahl's, or Brian Jacques's highly praised novels, then you'll agree with me that Which Witch? is a work of art.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 23, 2000
Format: Hardcover
It was a good book. with vivid characters and colorful events.. that will make you remember them as if you were there.
I recommend it to everyone
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 13, 1999
Format: Hardcover
This book is really great. The hero, Arriman the Awful, is funny and charming and just the right amount of evil. I'm not a big fantasy fan, but I enjoyed this comedy of errors--full of cases of mistaken identities, misconjured spells, misunderstandings--that was also full of suspense and a little bit of terror. While some of the witches are sort of gross, they are also very humorous. While I wish the heroine wasn't such the stereotypical blonde, blue-eyed goody-goody, that she wants to be an evil viper-making witch is good--it's like Sandy in GREASE wanting to turn bad. The story touches on the fact that most people want to be liked and will go to extremes to achieve that goal, even if it means not being true to one's nature. But the book isn't preachy--I'm just reading into things.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on December 2, 2001
Format: Paperback
I have to say that I read this book in 2 nights easily, and it was pretty good. As you probably have figured out, the ending was VERY predictable, but there were a few surprises. Arriman the Aweful must get married and decides to hold a competition for the darkest witch to be his bride. Of course, all the wiches are crazy and ugly except for Belladonna, who is beatiful, nice, perfect, and in love with Arriman, but she is a white witch (not evil). The ending can already be predicted from here, but the book takes you on a wild ride to get there. I would say that it is a great read fr those who, like me, enjoy magic and comedy. I am pleased to say, though, that it is not a sleazy fantasy book but a cute fariy tale.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By "shayamorph" on March 24, 2001
Format: Paperback
Which Witch? is a funny enjoyable novel strictly for children, but anyone who is in the mood for a funny good read, it is highly recommended. In all of Darkington, the witches are evil and unkindly. Everything is black, and bad manners are expected. When Arriman the Awful holds a contest to find a new wife so that he can have an heir, the contest is a dastardly one -- whoever can perform the darkest, most evil spell, shall become his wife. But in all of Darkington, there is only one girl who just can't seem to be evil -- Belladonna! No matter how hard she tries, she just can't be evil or dark, and she wants to marry Arriman the Awful, though how can she if she can't do anything evil? Wherever she walks, flowers bloom from theg ground, butterflies dance, and soft songs play in the air. She is too kinldy and soft, and she longs to do just something the slightest bit evil. She is doomed forever to be a White Witch -- someone who can never be or do anything evil. But when she manages do something that just might giver her hope to win, someone becomes aware -- and that someone will do anything to stop her. This was beyond funny a novel, and highly recommendable.
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