A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What 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.
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What's the story?
Is it any good?
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.