Friday, October 18, 2019

1960s Scholastic book:
"The Witch Next Door"

Author/illustrator Norman Bridwell (1928-2014) has more then 100 million books in print and was best known for his Clifford the Big Red Dog series, which includes an astounding 80 books. But in 1965 he published a sweet children's book titled The Witch Next Door. This is the Scholastic Book Services (fourth printing) edition from 1967. It is TW 776 and cost 35 cents (the equivalent of $2.66 today).

In the cheery volume, the witch's young neighbors observe that she paints her house black, does her laundry on Mondays, has a pet dragon, delivers soup to sick neighbors, goes to sleep at 8 p.m. every night (in an odd position I won't spoil), and casts "a few spells now and then."

Then some older neighbors decide they don't like having That Kind living on the block. So the witch uses some gentle magic to win them over. And everyone flies away on a broom, happily ever after. I think my favorite line is: "She showed us the bat bath in her yard."

Here are some reviews of The Witch Next Door from Goodreads:

  • "I LOVED this book when I was little and I LOVE it still! A witch moves in next door, but she is actually a very sweet witch who uses her spells to enhance her life and the lives of those around her." (Samantha in 2013)
  • "Love this book! Way ahead of it's time, and so much fun! I remember this book from my youth and have always loved it." (Rebecca in 2018)
  • "This text would be a good way to teach kids to be welcoming of others and it should definitely be read to this day." (Alicia in 2012)
  • "Even when the witch confronts prejudice and gets angry, she doesn't get mean. She solves the problem in the nicest way possible." (Cindy in 2007)

Bridwell went on to write other books about the friendly witch. And now this book can go back into a Little Free Library!

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