Here I am again, finished with another Roald Dahl’s book, The Witches. Evidently, just as the title suggests, it’s about witches. This is the plot description from the back cover of the book:
This is about real witches.
Grandmamma loves to tell about witches. Real witches are the most dangerous of all living creatures on earth. There’s nothing they hate so much as children, and they work all kinds of terrifying spells to get rid of them. Her grandson listens closely to Grandmamma’s stories — but nothing can prepare him for the day he comes face-to-face with The Grand High Witch herself!
We never get to know about name of the grandson because he’s the narrator of the story. After his parents died in an accident, he starts to live with his grandmother who is very much knowledgeable when it comes to witches.
Before the story begins, readers are first introduced to the nature and physical appearances of witches. The narrative description of Roald Dahl about witches gives us a vivid picture of how they look like and what they do. It’s hard to immediately recognize a witch because she disguises as a human. As the story progresses, the grandmother further elaborates on the characteristics of the witches.
An unfortunate incident happens when the grandson encounters the witches, including the Grand High Witch Of All The World – he turns into a mouse after being forced to eat a chocolate which has a droplet of Delayed Action Mouse-Maker. Speaking of which, that potion surely has odd ingredients. Readers will be surprised what items are needed to make the potion.
Anyway, moving on, the grandson’s transformation into a mouse compelled him to contemplate whether being a mouse would suit him better than being a human. This makes me wonder if we are really better beings than animals because it has become prevalent that most humans tend to act like animals. Furthermore, it has become a wonder, too, that instead of dreading on what happened, the grandson ends up having a positive outlook of the incident.
All in all, I enjoy the book. I just love the conversations going on between the grandmother and her grandson. The dialogues are quite funny and I couldn’t imagine my grandmother to be like that. The grandmother is so young at heart, which makes her and the grandson maintain a strong and inspiring relationship. Their liveliness and imaginativeness combined make them a good team to plan to eradicate the witches.
It’s also fun to look at the illustrations as they perfectly capture and reflect the description of the story. The book may be simple, but it still has a lot to offer. I like how Roald Dahl uses the grandson as the narrator because readers get to look into the mind of the child. And just like any other children books, lessons can be learned. On one hand, readers will come to a realization that size doesn’t matter because it’s the mind or intelligence that will determine one’s character. On the other hand, this book will also give readers a certain amount of confidence that appearance doesn’t matter as long as one loves the other, and vice versa.