The Witch's Child

Book review by
Dawn Friedman, Common Sense Media
The Witch's Child Book Poster Image
Too scary for most picture book readers.

Parents say

age 4+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Positive Messages

Evil meets her due by the end of the book.


Very scary images for a picture book of a wicked witch and a doll that looks like a corpse.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this is definitely a book to consider closely before reading to a child. The witch is too scary for most kids at the picture book level (older kids are more likely to want to read something meatier), and images include a doll that looks like a corpse.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 2, 5, 8, and 11-year-old Written bykatieashburn July 15, 2009
For some reason it is my 2 1/2 year old's absolute favorite book! We got it from the library and now that it is finally due (after 3 renewals), I'm g... Continue reading

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What's the story?

Rosina the witch wants a child and turns to magic to make her dream come true.

Is it any good?

Jos Smith's illustrations perfectly suit the book: The story opens with the witch floating through crooked trees looking like any kid's worst nightmare. Yorinks is an adept storyteller and Smith is an effective illustrator, but this perfect marriage of author and illustrator just makes for a more frightening book. Read at your own risk and certainly vet before passing it on to the kids.

Arthur Yorinks is a frequent collaborator with Maurice Sendak and the men share a fascination with archetypal tales with fairy-tale elements and creepy stories that often give parents pause. While Sendak didn't join him for this story, Yorinks' fascination with the juvenile macabre is certainly on display here. It's difficult to figure out the intended audience for this creepy book about a witch who wants a child. It seems like a curiosity piece for kids old enough to want to be spooked since it's much too scary for anyone young enough to be reaching for picture books.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about familiar fairy tale themes that crop up in this book. For example, what does the witch in this book have in common with the witch in Rapunzel? Or Hansel and Gretel? Is the story of a straw child who comes to life familiar in other ways?

Book details

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