The Widow's Broom

Common Sense Media says

Shivery story with a surprise ending.

Age(i)

2
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17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive messages
Not applicable
Violence & scariness

The broom knocks two boys on the head, and throws their dog in the air. The ghost of the broom carries an ax.

Language
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this atmospheric story, accompanied by Van Allsburg's usual magnificent artwork, has an ending twist that delights kids.

Parents say

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Kids say

What's the story?

A witch leaves behind a broom that can't fly anymore, but it can still do chores for the lonely widow who befriends it. But the neighbors think it's evil and want to destroy it. Spectacular sepia-toned illustrations highlight this shivery story with a surprise ending.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

The big attraction in Chris Van Allsburg's books is his stunning illustrations, but this is one of his better stories as well. Reminiscent of an entry in the old "Amazing Stories" TV series, this pleasantly atmospheric tale has a twist at the end that delights kids with the satisfaction of seeing overbearing bullies get their due through the cleverness of the meek.

The full-page pictures are done in textured shades of gray that give the impression of sepia-tone art. The style is reminiscent of the one he used in The Mysteries of Harris Burdick, but grainier. Some of them are cinematically dramatic, such as the picture of the witch looking to the skies, lit by flames, while others, such as a scene of surprised chickens being fed by the broom, are funny.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the neighbors' distrust and fear of the broom. Although the broom has not caused any harm, why do they want to destroy it?

Book details

Author:Chris Van Allsburg
Illustrator:Chris Van Allsburg
Genre:Picture Book
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Houghton Mifflin Children's Books
Publication date:January 1, 1992
Number of pages:28

This review of The Widow's Broom was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Kid, 11 years old November 9, 2011
AGE
5
QUALITY
 

great book that might scare super young kids

A great story, but its more scary elements might creep down to the bones of younger children. A good toddler to preteen book if they like amazingly illustrated picture books with clues, mystery, and surprise endings. Van Allsburg used to be my 4th-grade hero of picture books, and he still is one of my heroes. But anyways, The Widow's Broom is a good book for young kids, but it's a shivery, creepy story at its core.
What other families should know
Too much violence

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