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Druscilla's Halloween (Carolrhoda Picture Books) Library Binding – August 1, 2009
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From School Library Journal
Kindergarten-Grade 3—In the days before witches rode brooms, they snuck up on people on foot during Halloween to scare them. Druscilla, the oldest of all the witches, had knees that cracked and popped so loudly that she couldn't surprise anyone. Not one to be left behind, she looked for other means of frightening people. First she tried to ride her donkey, but it was too stubborn to fall under her spell. Next she tried the wheelbarrow, but it was too hard to steer. Then she turned her arms into wings by pasting feathers to them. Flying worked well until it began to rain. Her "ah ha!" moment came as she swept up the feathers. The broom would be perfect: a seat for her, a place to hold her jack-o'-lantern, plus a perch for her cat. All of the other witches agreed, and at the next worldwide witches council, broomsticks were voted in. The use of various fonts and their placement among the illustrations adds emphasis and visual interest to Walker's text. The atmospheric spreads have just the right amount of spookiness and ample touches of humor.—Catherine Callegari, Gay-Kimball Library, Troy, NH END
From the Inside Flap
Did witches always ride brooms?
No! In fact, long, long ago, witches crept about on tiptoe. On Halloween, they would scare children and cast spells...but always from the ground. No witch ever thought of flying -- no witch until Druscilla.
Druscilla was an old witch with the loudest, creakiest knees anyone had ever heard. But she was determined not to let anything spoil her element of surprise. One Halloween, after many failed attempts at sneaking up on unsuspecting villagers, Druscilla made a discovery that changed the course of witch history.
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SNAP! CRACKLE . . . no, that's CRACK! CREAK! POP! She had knees that wouldn't quit. She couldn't sneak up on someone who was hard of hearing, let alone a youngster who needed some Halloween scaring. She had an idea and walked with her cat Drizzle through the forest. Every critter in the forest heard her coming, including the fireflies, and ran for cover. Druscilla and Drizzle got up on her donkey, but no amount of coaxing could get that stubborn old donkey to move. Not even a spell or the word please (which almost always works) could get him moving. She tried gluing feathers to her arms so she could fly. PLOP! No go. No self respecting witch could be a flop on Halloween. What on Earth could Druscilla do to solve her dilemma?
I loved this creaky kneed witch! She was a funny, warty charmer that everyone will fall in love with from the wee child to his or her grandparents. She's not a very scary witch that will send children running for cover, but rather will make them giggle and laugh at her antics. The illustrations are very appealing and the harvest colors are very much in line with Halloween. I did notice a magical looking broom toward the end of the book. I wonder if Druscilla played quidditch millions of spells ago?
Did you ever wonder why witches ride brooms? Well, as author Sally M. Walker tells it, the story all began a million spells ago with an ancient witch named Druscilla. In those days, witches crept about on tiptoe and scared children on Halloween from the ground. But Druscilla had the loudest, creakiest knees that anyone had ever heard, so she could not surprise people. Her knees even sent rabbits, squirrels, and fireflies scurrying. Not to be denied her fun, one Halloween she tried several different ways of being sneaky--riding a donkey, rolling in a wheelbarrow, and even making wings with chicken feathers so that she could fly. However, all these attempts failed. Then, as she was sweeping up the feathers, she had a brilliant idea. Can you guess what it was?
This delightful tale of Druscilla's Halloween is a little spooky but not too scary for small children. Accompanied by the fascinating illustrations by Lee White, the story will be a welcome addition to the Halloween literature for kindergartners and elementary-age students. I found it enjoyable.