A World of Words

Reviewing children's books

It’s been a while…

on March 25, 2013

I’ve had a really busy couple of weeks, what with moving, settling in and visiting friends. Funny how everything comes at once!

Anyway, today I’m writing about a book I found out about a few months ago. Room on the Broom was written by the current Children’s Laureate, Julia Donaldson; and illustrated by Axel Scheffler. I’d seen something about a theatre show based on it, and while circumstance stopped me from taking Caitlin and Lewis to go and see it, I bought the book straight away. (Since then, I also found out it was on CBeebies as part of Jackanory.)

Room on the Broom, by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler

ISBN: 978-0-230-74935-1, £2.95 from Play.com

room-on-a-broom

The witch had a cat
and a very tall hat,
And long ginger hair
which she wore in a plait.
How the cat purred
and how the witch grinned,
As they sat on their broomstick
and flew through the wind.

Room on the Broom follows the witch and her cat, who are travelling on a broomstick. The witch will lose something and they’ll go to retrieve it, only to pick up another animal friend. This is until the broom gets so heavy, it snaps! The witch falls in the path of a dragon, who declares:

“‘I am a dragon, as mean as can be,
And I’m planning to have WITCH
AND CHIPS for my tea!'”

This was a really fun story to read. It’s written in rhyming quatrains and is filled with onomatopoeic rhymes that make it really satisfying to read and listen to. The best one is on the first page:

“But how the witch wailed
         and how the cat spat…”

The text was really lively, and filled with whooshes and tumblings and loud, scary roars. It was so much fun for me to do, and even better when I got the kids to act it out! The accompanying illustrations were awesome, and if the story didn’t let Caitlin and Lewis anticipate what was coming next in the story (which it did!), they engaged really well with the pictures. It’s one of those that they’ll quite happily go into the corner with to ‘read’ on their own.

Caitlin and Lewis have often referred to this book when looking for something to read – in our house it’s known as ‘the witch book’. My family and I also love it – the first time I read this to the children, it was in front of everyone and I’d been reading really fast. I got to the dragon part (quoted above), and instead of saying “witch and chips”, I came out with “witch and tits” – oops! I was laughed at for a fair bit after that one!

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