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Wild Witches' Ball Paperback – September 7, 2004
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From School Library Journal
Kindergarten-Grade 2–This poem first appeared in Daisy Wallace's Witch Poems (Holiday, 1976). It is a simple counting rhyme that strains to include a variety of witchy synonyms: "ten tall crones"; "two fierce furies"; and "nine queer dears." Unfortunately, it is lyrically and rhythmically clumsy and thematically uninspired. For example, "In every size and shape and weight,/we witches came to celebrate.… Witches eight with mangy tresses danced with seven sorceresses." Asbury's illustrations don't gel. The color schemes appear to have been chosen at random so that there is no sense of continuity from page to page. The shapes and characters are neither pleasingly intriguing nor intriguingly scary. The print is large and the font, which often dips and dashes across the page, is charmingly Halloweenish. Occasionally the words are difficult to locate because they're mired in a cluttered illustration and/or printed in black ink against a dark background color. Stick with Prelutsky's Monday's Troll (1996), Awful Ogre's Awful Day (2001), The Dragons Are Singing Tonight (1993, all Greenwillow) or one of his enchantingly ghoulish Halloween books. Skip the Wild Witches' Ball.–Susan Weitz, Spencer-Van Etten Schools, Spencer, NY
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PreS-Gr. 1. The poet laureate of the prepubescent set is at it again! Prelutsky sets his sights on the divas of the dark in this counting rhyme about the annual fete of witches. With "ten tall crones" battling in barrels, six witches "in shaggy rags playing toss and tag," and "nine queer dears with pointed ears," the text will both amuse young readers and help them hone newfound counting skills. Asbury, a prominent film animator whose children's book credits include the color-concept trilogy Rusty's Red Vacation, Yolanda's Yellow School, and Bonnie's Blue House (all 1997), does fine justice to the imaginings of Prelutsky, his quirky, Quentin Blake-like illustrations flowing into every nook and cranny. Highly recommended as a not-too-scary Halloween read-aloud. Terry Glover
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved