Winnie the Witch – Korky Paul/Valerie Thomas

POINTS: 3 out of 10.

Bechdel: 0 points
Variety of characters: 0 points
Good story:  2 points
Discretionary ideological points: 1 point

There’s a lot to recommend this book, given how low it scores. Despite failing the Bechdel (there is only one female character, and no dialogue at all), it is a book about a woman. Admittedly, it’s a fairly stereotypical story about a classic female archetype (the witch), but nevertheless.

There’s also only the one human, so no sign of diversity going on. Wilbur (the cat)’s changing colour scheme doesn’t really count. ;P

All that aside, it is a very enjoyable book to read. There is so much going on in the illustrations, that each page rewards really looking closely and spending some time. There are frogs in pockets and strange magical creatures hanging out on bookshelves. Well worth taking a little extra time and examining them closely.

The story is fairly funny, though there are no real surprises. It was fun to read, and C seemed to enjoy it as well. It definitely falls into the ‘silly farce’ school of humour, but of course kids love that stuff, so I’d say it works. We were both amused, and it is fun to read as an adult.

Winnie herself appears to be a relatively harmless witch (in this book at least – I don’t know about the other ones) if a touch anarchic in her solutions. When she rainbow-colours Wilbur so she doesn’t trip over him any more, she is definitely acting more on impulse than with thought, but after she ponders the situation for a while, and thinks about how she hates that Wilbur is miserable because she loves him, she comes up with a much more effective solution.

She’s impulsive, but good-hearted, which is kind of a neat thing to see in an adult character in a kids’ book – even a witch.

Good stuff. Entertaining, if not revolutionary. 🙂

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