NZ Book Month – The Witch in the Cherry Tree

witchinthecherrytreeThe Witch in the Cherry Tree by Margaret Mahy, illustrated by Jenny Williams

Margaret Mahy is a taonga, a treasure, a wonderful writer of the most fabulous books for the very young, and the young, and the growing-a-bit-older-but-still-young.

Margaret Mahy says her stories are meant to be heard, and I can hear this one – the matter of fact mother, the imaginative, slight scared but slightly brave boy, the witch who is doing her best to be angry and frightening but really just wants a cake. She tries many tricks to get David, the boy, to give her a cake, and eventually, she succeeds, not by trickery, but due to the kindness of a small boy.

I love the way that this story represents a child’s imagination. It all really could have happened, or was it just a boy weaving dreams around cakes and storms and birds on the back lawn. I also love the tone of the mother’s voice, accepting her child’s imagination, and working with it.

The book ends with a recipe for Gingerbread Witches. We have tried it. It works.


NZBMsmlI’m taking up Ele’s challenge, and blogging a book a day in October, which is New Zealand Book Month. All the books are by New Zealand authors.


5 comments on “NZ Book Month – The Witch in the Cherry Tree

  1. […] at In a Strange Land posts on The Witch in the Cherry Tree by Margaret Mahy, illustrated by Jenny […]

  2. ThirdCat says:

    Margaret Mahy is out and out one of the best writers ever.

  3. Carol says:

    I’m totally with you on that, Third Cat. Happy to see Mahy’s books featuring in this esteemed forum.

  4. Deborah says:

    There’s more Mahy to come, I promise, including a couple of her books for older children, which I think are marvellous.

  5. Carol says:

    As well as being rollicking and rhythmical and wondrous to read aloud, there’s also a gentle subversiveness about Mahy, which I like very much and which I think comes out more strongly in her books for older children.

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