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The Witches and the Singing Mice Hardcover – September 6, 1993
From Publishers Weekly
In this energetic retelling of an old Celtic tale, three witches spread magic and terror in Glenmagraw village. The ghoulish night visitors make impossible demands of local craftsmen and, their requests refused, send two children into a deep sleep. Local cats Tam and Rory must hunt down singing mice to rouse the sleepers and prevent the witches from striking again. Clear, evocative prose ("ancient trees grinned and threatened, tangled roots caught and tripped the nimble paws"), imbued with a musical lilt, races the text to an uplifting conclusion. Nimmo skillfully combines the legend's romanticism with a pleasingly down-to-earth briskness. Scenes of magic are portrayed with wispily textured artwork while village scenes have a naive freshness. Especially well drawn are the witches transformed into black cats with wild eyes and "knife-edged" claws. Their fight with Tam and Rory is all movement, hiss and flying fur. This fine picture book's frisson of fright has the reassuring fillip of a happy ending. Ages 6-up.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Kirkus Reviews
A long, agreeably spooky tale in which two loyal tomcats rout a trio of witches who've invaded a desolate site overlooking a peaceful Highland village. Each witch in turn places an impossible order with a local tradesman (``A big iron bed...And I want it tonight''); when a man refuses, his child is found, next morning, mouse-bitten and in a lifeless trance--the good cats, bewitched by the singing of the mice, have been unable to stand guard. When a third child is threatened, the cats bravely trail the witches (who turn into cats) and kill them. Then--following the advice of a wise woman--they restore the children. In Barrett's precise, eerie paintings, the witches look especially wicked as sinuously elongated cats--an elegant foil for the angelic children and charmingly ordinary feline heroes. Try pairing this intriguing tale with Barber's The Mousehole Cat (1990). (Folklore/Picture book. 6-10) -- Copyright ©1993, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.
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