The Witches by Roald Dahl

This Roald Dahl classic tells the scary, funny and imaginative tale of a seven-year-old boy who has a run-in with some real-life witches.


We have all read fairy tales about witches, haven’t we? Witches that wear silly black hats, black cloaks and ride broomsticks. Well, that is why they are called fairy tales. This story is about real witches. You see, real witches are all around us, looking just like us. It might be your pretty school teacher, or that friendly lady in the supermarket or even your mother( I always add that when I read it to daughter, and the first time I did it, she did get a little scared).

The witches in the story are evil women who lead totally normal everyday lives, with little to tell you their real identity. And they HATE children.

A little boy goes to Norway to live with his grandmother after his parents die in an accident. He adores his grandmother, and in some ways was closer to his grandmother than his own mother. In order to keep the sadness away, she starts telling him stories. The Grandmother is  a wonderful storyteller, and all her tales kept the boy, rapt. However the stories that he was completely enthralled with, were those about witches. Now, the grandmother was a retired witch hunter. She was one of the few people who knows all about witches and of how to identify them. All the stories of the witches that she told him were real tales, cautionary tales so that he knew what to do in case he ever encountered witches.

Now, the thing about real witches is, that you can’t figure out who is a witch and who isn’t. They hate children, the smell of children is like stink for the witches. Since they hate the ‘children smell’, so grandmother recommended that the boy went without baths, so that his smell could be masked. And she told him a few things that would help him in case he ever met a real witch.

They were living happily in Norway, when they got to know that according to the boy’s father’s will, grandmother would be the guardian, but, she would have to bring him up in England, in the house he lived with his parents. Now, Grandmother doesn’t want to leave Norway, but she doesn’t have much of a choice. There is also another reason why England could be more dangerous. Apparently, while Norway had lots of witches, England didn’t have so many, BUT, English witches were the most vicious of them all. They were known to do the cruelest of things to children. The boy would have to be extra careful in England, you never knew when you would come across a really vicious witch.

As luck would have it, the boy does run into some witches. Did grandmother’s tales and tricks help him in the end? You’ll have to read to find out, and have a fun time while you are at it.

It is a wonderfully funny book. Daughter and I absolutely had a ball, reading it. If you like Roald Dahl’s books, you are sure to like this one too! It might be scary for some children, so I would recommend that you read it first before reading it to your child, or letting them read it.

This review has been cross-posted at Indian Moms Connect.

About the Author

Roald Dahl was a British novelist, short story writer,poet and screenwriter who rose to prominence in the 1940′s with works for both children and adults, and became one of the world’s bestselling authors. Dahl has created some of the most loved children’s books ever.

This book is available at Amazon and Flipkart.  


3 thoughts on “The Witches by Roald Dahl

  1. ‘It might be your pretty school teacher, or that friendly lady in the supermarket or even your mother( I always add that when I read it to daughter, and the first time I did it, she did get a little scared).’ — How absolutely evil of you!! 🙂

    I told you, I am evil mum, or maybe I am a witch 😉

    Great review, BTW.. Loved it! 🙂 Reminds me I have almost forgotten the contents of this book. Maybe it is time to re-read it. I remember thinking at the moment that the tale could be quite scary for some children. I, for instance, would have been scared stiff if I had read this in my childhood.

    I know, it can be a scary book, but daughter loves it. She must have re-read it, a million times now 🙂


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