The Witches of Worm



Newbery Honor-ed tale not for scaredy cats.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

A cat is seemingly possessed and a girl uses that to excuse some pretty bad behavior. Everyone eventually comes to their senses and feels remorse. One parent is often absent and selfish.


A creepy cat brings on the chills, and a girl thinks about setting her neighbor's apartment on fire.

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Drinking, drugs, & smoking
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Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this book deals with a mischievous kid who believes her cat is possessed and telling her to do bad things. They should be prepared to answer questions about witchcraft and exorcism, and to deal with cases of the heebie-jeebies.

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What's the story?

Jessica Porter, often left alone by her mom and recently on the outs with her best friend, takes up with a strange cat named Worm. When Jessica found him she didn't even like cats, but she started taking care of him anyway. Now she feels like she's somehow under his spell. Is he really talking to her, telling her to do bad things, or is she just imagining it?

Is it any good?


Zilpha Keatley Snyder's Newbery Honor-ed tale is fun, spooky, and ideal for anyone who has found themselves joking, "the devil made me do it." A great thing about Snyder's style is she finds a way to weave great detail and information into a story without overloading it or making the reader feel like they are being lectured. There is a moral to the story, but Snyder presents it with subtlety. Kids who love a good mystery will eat this one up.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about taking responsibility for one's actions. When Jessica got out of trouble by lying, how did it make her feel? Have you ever done something wrong and gotten away with it? How did you feel afterward? Did you come clean?

Book details

Author:Zilpha Keatley Snyder
Topics:Magic and fantasy
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Yearling Books
Publication date:February 1, 1986
Number of pages:183
Publisher's recommended age(s):9 - 12
Awards:ALA Best and Notable Books, Newbery Medal and Honors

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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; OK 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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Kid, 12 years old March 30, 2012

Interesting looking

This book looks interesting. I'll have to check it out. I have recently read a book called WitchWeed though, so I hope this book is NOTHING like that one.


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