The 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.