"My orders are that every single child in this country shall be rrrubbed out, sqvashed, sqvirted, sqvittered and frrrittered before I come here again in vun year's time! Do I make myself clear?"In September I did a post with Bella from A Girl Reads about Roald Dahl. As I was answering her questions, though, I was finding that I really couldn't remember exactly which Dahl books I have read over the years. There were some I still owned, so they came to mind, but I was sure there were probably times where I read him from the library and don't really remember anymore. With this in mind I decided to start reading him through the library. I decided to start with The Witches for the R.I.P. challenge. When I noticed that this book was also heavily challenged according to this list;I decided that by reading it I was killing three birds with one stone.
The Grand High Witch has a fiendish plan for getting rid of all the children in England. First, her fellow hags will take over all the sweet shops. Next, they will sell poisoned sweets and chocolates which turn children into mice! Then, make way for the mouse traps...
This terrible plan is overheard by the young boy narrator of the story. Fortunately, his grandma knows something about witches. Unfortunately, before he has a chance to consult her, he is turned into a mouse himself.
Will the witches triumph? Are the children of England doomed? And what exactly is the secret behind grandma’s missing finger? This award-winning tale has all the answers.
Saturday, October 02, 2010
The Witches by Roald Dahl
It turns out that I had read this book when I was a child. It took me a bit to get into it, but when I did I started to remember reading what was happening before. It was not fresh in my memory, but it was fun to reread it. It is a story about a young boy who is told by his grandmother that there are really witches in the world and his adventures as a result. There was a strong paranormal element, so the book worked well for the R.I.P. challenge. Reading a description of the witches was actually rather amusing. These are not the witches you are used to encountering in literature and movies! Dahl is very gifted at writing books that have a dark element to them, but also can make you laugh. It is a good mix.
What I really want to talk about is the fact that this book has been challenged. This is a dark book and bad things do happen in it. It makes me think about the J.K. Rowling interview I saw on Oprah today. She was talking about 9/11 and how people say that children shouldn't learn about evil in school. I assume this is related to the dark nature of her books. I am not a big Rowling fan, but that doesn't mean I don't appreciate what she represents. She was entirely right, though. There is evil in the world and many of the books that are challenged each year have a darker nature to them. I understand that parents want to try and protect their children from the bad things that can happen, but are they really doing them any good? I am a strong advocate of truth and balance. It always makes me sad when people attempt to ban books. I read authors like Dahl when I was a child and I'd like to think I turned out fine from it!
So, what do you think about book banning?