The Wednesday Witch, by Ruth Chew – Book Review


the-wednesday-witch3The Wednesday Witch, by Ruth Chew
Publisher: Holiday House
Publication Date: September 1972
Format: Paperback, 128 pages

I have to say that I LOVED, LOVED, LOVED this book as a kid, and I still do.  I can’t even understand why this book isn’t still in print.  That is just SCANDALOUS!  Ask me how I really feel.  SCANDALOUS!

I don’t know what got me to thinking about this book.  Over the past year, I have been spending more time with my eight-year-old cousin, Nia.  We have sleepovers once a month, and reading and the library have definitely played a part in our routine.  I guess with the time that we have been spending, I am always thinking of books that I really enjoyed as a kid that I think she would enjoy.  Over the past 6-8 months she has been on a witches and magic kick, and that’s probably what prompted me to track down a copy of The Wednesday Witch.  I had a feeling that she would love it.  I certainly enjoyed reading it again before I gave it to her.  I still haven’t decided whether she actually gets to keep it when she’s finished.  I’ve grown very attached to the story.

It starts off with Mary Jane playing with the things on her mother’s dresser while her mother is out for the evening.  Mary Jane loves to play with the lipstick and perfume and she sprays her mother new perfume, Mischief, in the air.  A strange woman appears at her doorstep wanting to be let in.  Mary Jane won’t let her in because she is a stranger and in her fury the woman leaves in a huff, forgetting her cat in the process. Mary Jane and her mother take in the cat, and name her Cinders because she likes to dust, and they live happily for a few days until the witch, noticing that she has lost her cat, returns on her magical vacuum cleaner to get her.

Mary Jane and her mother are reluctant to give Cinders back but have no choice since she is not their cat.  Cinders escapes once again but not before the witch managed to snip her down to miniature size; Cinders is now small enough to fit into a child’s doll house!  In all the ensuing drama the witch’s magical vacuum cleaner, James, gets left behind with Cinders the cat.  What happens when the witch realizes that she is without both of her precious possessions?  To what lengths will she go to get them back?

Somethings don’t make complete sense with this book, as is sometimes the case with books for the younger set. I’m never sure quite how old Mary Jane is, but whatever her age, it doesn’t seem to stop her from having the autonomy of a much older teenager (she and a friend go on an unchaperoned picnic and mom doesn’t bat an eye).  But whatever.  I willingly suspend my disbelief, and it doesn’t really interfere with my enjoyment of the story.

Mary Jane is a load of fun and constantly getting into mischief.  It’s fun to see what she and Cinders get into with the magical vacuum cleaner, James, that the witch has left behind.  It’s even more fun when the witch shows up and Mary Jane has to take her on and figure things out so that Cinders and James will be safe from the witch’s retaliation.  A ton of fun, this is one of my favorite children’s books.  If you have or know kids who like witches and magic, this is a great book for them.  If you’re like me and you like to re-visit great books that you loved as a child, and you like witches and magic, then this is the book for you too!

Have you reviewed The Wednesday Witch (somehow I highly doubt this)? Please e-mail me your link or leave it in the comments, I’d love to have it here.

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  1. So sad that it’s out of print!

    Sheri’s last blog post..Book Review: Undress Me In The Temple of Heaven

  2. My mother is the author, Ruth Chew. Scholastic was the last publisher of her books but stopped publishing them after the publication of Goosebumps and then Harry Potter.

    Any suggestions as to how to obtain renewed interest and publication of my mother’s books?

    1. Hi David! What a treasure to have your mother as the author! After the buzz of all the latest and greatest, I think we can all appreciate the treasure your mother made for us through her works. Scholastic, or any other publisher, would be silly not to re-vive these wonderful classics which still rank right up there with the recent blur of mystery/magical stories.

    2. How amazing that she is your mother! Please let her know that this was my all time favorite book growing up. I can’t wait to share my copy with my own children.

    3. What a wonderful mother you had. So sorry to hear of her recent passing. The Witch’s Buttons is one of my favorite stories and I always thought it would make a fantastic movie.
      Perhaps if people saw a movie they would be interested in her other books.

    4. I havent read this book since i was nine years old, i loved it. And still remeber it to this day, i wanted to but it for my grandaughter, who loves these kind of stories. What a wonderful childrens story.

    5. You should definitley contact the last publishers about re-printing! You should see the prices being charged on sites such as for copies of “The Wednesday Witch”!
      There is definitely a demand for this book!

  3. My sister used to read this to me when we were kids and I absolutely loved it! I have been searching for copies for a while! Does anyone know where I can find it?!?!

    1. Hi Mindy. I found a copy of one of her other books on You can try there for an older copy. I think the book is out of print at this point.

  4. I just gave the “Wednesday Witch” to my 8 year old daughter to read! I found it in my storage room, along with “What the Witch Left”. I was automatically transported back to grade school myself, along with the whirlwind stir of mystery, magic, and fun that these books opened for me then. It was a wonderful feeling! My daughter finished reading the book in 2 days and we laughed, and shared, and had such a great time talking about our favorate parts! What a gift to share with the the next generation.

  5. Hi!
    Sounds like a wonderful kids book. Sorry to hear it isn’t being published anymore. That’s a shame. Have a great day!

    Just Books
    .-= s´s last blog ..KIDS KONNECTION =-.

  6. I’d been wanting a copy of this for a long time – I loved this book as a child – and just received a used hard cover copy as a gift. I’m SO glad to have this back in my collection and to be able to share this with my daughter.

    David – your mother gave me hours of enjoyment as a girl and I teared up when I opened the box that had this book in it. If re-publishing is an option please let me know, though I dunno what I could do to help.

  7. I've been looking for this book for a loooong time!! I didn'teven remember the title but luckily Google understood what I was looking for from the Search terms I entered. I'm going to check out and get myself a copy!

  8. I sometimes say ‘home James’ to my children and have told them all about this book – one of my childhood all time favourites! I’ve finally got around to searching for it, I couldn’t remember what it was called, but my son googled children’s book with “flying vacuum” and came across this site and the name of the book! I’m thriled – now to try and buy it!

  9. THIS was my favorite book growing up.I even took the wednesday theme into my adult life… I used to have relaxation wednesdays…and now I have a roomba set to work on wednesdays.. OOH I miss this book. I love Ruth Chew and am so sorry to learn she has passed on. Her work is amazing. Thank you for posting this .. hope to find a used copy and re-read it soon. ♥

  10. I love the Wednesday Witch & used to read it to my daughter when she was little, she is now 23 & it’s one of her favorite books as well! I still have that book too, I’ve kepted in a safe place & can’t wait to read it to my grandchildren when I have them! I’ll tell you another thing it work make a great movie!

  11. Pingback: Book Review - What the Witch Left