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The Three Witches Hardcover – July 25, 2006

3.0 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 1-4–Three witches had already eaten a boy and girl's mother and father, so their grandmother took them to live with her far off in the woods. Grandmother goes for food and the witches come. Those witches! Their teeth were far longer than their lips! They send the children to fetch water in a sieve; the children end up in a tree, and the witches start to chop it down with broad axes. The girl sings Block eye, chip! and the wood chips fly back into the witches' eyes and blind them. The boy calls the dogs, but they are tied up at home. Grandma returns, but is so tired from her journey that she takes a nap. A snake wakes up the old woman, she looses the dogs, and all ends well. Thomas's adaptation of the tale is careful and clever–she doesn't leave out anything, and elaborates only by drawing engaging dialogue out of the more straightforward original narrative. Ringgold's naive-style paintings in dark rich hues suit the creepy story perfectly–boy, are those witches ugly! Her portrait of Hurston, laughing, at the end of the story, lends a lovely and reassuring visual coda. Short engaging notes add context and cite Hurston's original source. Read this aloud, and add it to any collection alongside the other recent Hurston adaptations for young audiences, including Mary E. Lyons's Roy Makes a Car (S & S, 2005), Christopher Myers's Lies and Other Tall Tales (HarperCollins, 2005), and Thomas's adaptation of The Six Fools (HarperCollins, 2006).–Nina Lindsay, Oakland Public Library, CA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Gr. 2-4. Adapting a story from Hurston's 1930s folklore collection, Every Tongue Got to Confess, Thomas makes a fast, fun, but also scary tale more accessible to young readers, while Ringgold's paintings, with thick black lines and vibrant colors, reflect both the comic exaggeration and the shivery action. Three hideous witches, with "teeth far longer than their lips," eat a boy and girl's parents and then catch the kids. The children escape and climb a tall tree. "Block eye, chip! Block eye, chip!" chants the girl, and the witches are blinded as they chop at the tree. The boy calls his three hounds to help, but they are tied up at home, and Grandma, who would free them, is sound asleep. Finally a great snake slaps Grandma awake, and she comes to the rescue with the voracious dogs. A full-page painting of Hurston, accompanied by a note about her work collecting African American folklore, concludes. For more of Hurston's stories, suggest The Six Fools and Lies and Other Tall Tales (both 2005); read this one in a cozy room. Hazel Rochman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 6 - 10 years
  • Grade Level: 1 - 5
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins; X-Library - 1st edition (July 25, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060006498
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060006495
  • Product Dimensions: 0.2 x 9.5 x 11.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,633,061 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Audrey Bierman on August 26, 2006
Format: Hardcover
As an lower elemtary reading teacher and huge Zora Neale Hurston fan I was thrilled to find this book. Beautifully illustrated and written to be shared out loud, this book is a great asset to any reading program which tries to turn kids on to the joy of our literature. Hurston was one of the greatest folklore collectors of the last century and a magnificent personality. Introducing her to young children comes not a moment too soon. This story is fun to use when discussing folklore motifs that can be traced in other great books, like Wiley and the Hairy Man. I hope there are more like this to come.
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Format: Hardcover
I was excited when I saw this book at the library and checked it out without hesitation because I'm always excited to read folklore, legend and mythology (original or re-versioned), but this that's about as far as the excitement got for me. The cover art is cool, quite vibrant and just the right mix of scary/silly for the age range this book is aimed at...but the artwork inside just doesn't do anything for me...it's rather flat and two dimensional, it has no depth. The only thing it really has going for it is that it's quite vibrant and lively in the authors choice of color...there just isn't any dimension to it and that takes away from the story for me.

The story itself is ok, but not great. I found it difficult to tell who is speaking when and how it should be read aloud...I had to read it myself twice and then once out loud before I got a sense of how best to read it to my kids. I don't mind working hard to get something right, but this just didn't work for me. I give it a C+, it's a great idea...but the execution just doesn't work for me. Most of all I get the sense that this would work best in a larger group reading (rehearsed ahead of time) where you could get a couple of children to read the brother and sisters parts with a narrative story teller doing the rest (all at the same time), I think it would build better to climax and be more engaging for the listeners. I should like to try that sometime and see if The Three Witches is more fun that way!
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Format: Hardcover
Worst book ever.
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