Parents' Guide to

Not Just a Witch

By Matt Berman, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 10+

Magic and humor mix with dark details for strange brew.

Book Eva Ibbotson Fantasy 2003
Not Just a Witch Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this book.

Community Reviews

age 7+

Based on 2 parent reviews

age 7+

Not just a Good Read, a Good Think too!

Excellent messages: kindness, think for yourself and always think lovingly. Children, animals and those who are marginalized are always her themes; Ibbottson should be required reading for children and their loving guardians/parents/teachers.

This title has:

Great messages
Great role models
age 7+

Not Just a Good Read, but a Good Think too!

This is one of the two very best of Eva Ibbottson's excellent books. It would be a pity for any adult who cares about children, animals and respect toward the vulnerable and marginalized to miss out on one of her books. Referring to violence as being a bad choice is one of the things responsible adults DO do for children. Although the book IS lighthearted, the message is clear; kindness, tolerance, and thinking before acting are all preferable actions. Kindness to those who may not be like yourself, or who may not fit the general description of pretty or powerful is even better. Above all, think for yourself, and think lovingly are the messages of this book (and all her books). She should be required reading for all children (and their loving adult guardians/parents/care-givers/teachers).

This title has:

Great messages

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say: (2 ):
Kids say: Not yet rated

Eva Ibbotson is loved by her many fans for her lighthearted fantasies filled with amusingly eccentric characters, usually adults, and this one fits the form. And there are some creative turns -- and hilarious moments (such as when the Heckie's half-dragon/ half-worm tells her how much he hated his aquatic life, before he was transformed, "Being a duck was the most boring thing that ever happened to me.") But young readers drawn in by the witchy-premise might be confused by the mix of magic with all-too-real crimes, such as abuse of old people and animals.

Ibbotson's bizarre sense of humor has been compared, with justification, to Roald Dahl's, which sometimes bothered adults even as it delighted children. But there is a big difference between the ridiculous unreality of James' parents being killed by an escaped rhino, and the all-too-real scene in this book when one of the children is found after having been beaten into bloody unconsciousness by the adult villain.

Book Details

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