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Whitbread Award Winner.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780435122935
ISBN-10: 0435122932
Format: Hardback
(193mm x 129mm x 15mm)
Pages: 208
Imprint: Heinemann
Publisher: Pearson Education Limited
Publish Date: 7-Oct-1985
Country of Publication: United Kingdom

Reviews

US Kirkus Review » By a talky, roundabout route, Dahl slyly (if deterringly) takes the narrator - ostensibly himself at seven - into the delicious, ambiguous situation of being a mouse-boy. . . who turns the tables on his tormentors. We first hear about witches: they spend their time plotting to get rid of children, "they all look like nice ladies," they are difficult but not impossible to spot. Then, we hear about Dahl's cigar-smoking Norwegian grandmother, who told him about witches and how to spot them: they all wear wigs to cover their bald heads, for one thing, and have itchy scalps. So, when Dahl and his grandmother are at a Bournemouth hotel, and the lady-delegates to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children conference start scratching away (p. 57), Dahl is wary. Then the pretty head lady takes off her mask: the Grand High Witch incarnate! To demonstrate her Formula 86 Delayed Action Mouse-Maker, she's already fed some to greedy, obnoxious little Bruno Jenkins - who turns into a mouse on schedule. Will Dahl be detected, hiding behind a screen? He hasn't washed in days, but some of that tell-tale child-scent, anathema to witches, escapes. Forcefed the potion, he joins Bruno scampering about the floor - but they still have their own voices, and his wonderful witchophile grandmother will know what to do. Actually, Dahl's wits have if anything sharpened. With his grandmother as a confederate, he steals a bottle of the potion; pours it into the witch-delegates' soup tureen; and has the exquisite pleasure of seeing them turned into mice, to be wiped out on the spot. (Bruno meanwhile is contentedly munching away - to the horror of his mouse-hating parents.) When last seen, DaM and his grandmother are quietly resettled in Norway - where he wonders if she'll live out Ms short mouse-life span, and she's plotting to get rid of the world's remaining witches. A (quicker-acting) sequel is to be eagerly expected. (Kirkus Reviews)


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