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The Witch's Boy by Kelly Barnhill
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The Witch's Boy

by Kelly Barnhill

Other authors: Jon Klassen (Cover artist)

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The Witch's Boy is about a boy named Ned who's twin brother died when they were young and is the son of a witch. He is often looked down upon but is put to an adventure when he takes control of his mother's magic. This is a good fantasy fairytale because it has magic and witches. It is a chapter book novel. INTERMEDIATE into MIDDLE SCHOOL ( )
  SkyD17 | Apr 3, 2017 |
This beautiful fairy tale of a book will keep me thinking for a long time. It is not only magical, it is lyrical, humorous, mystical, and really an allegory that teaches noble ideals without you even being aware of it. The author uses this kind of storytelling to teach things like the power of words, the power of forgiveness, the power of family, the power of the individual, and many more. I think this would make a great read-aloud because of all the discussions that could arise. But I also think it would make a fantastic movie! I could picture that last battle scene on the big screen so clearly (possibly because of all of my Lord of the Rings marathons), from the Stones clear down to the feathered soldier. Peter Jackson - take note!

Probably my favorite thing about this book was the well-drawn characters. My heart broke for Ned and Àine (pronounced Anya), they both had so much to overcome. The secondary characters were equally endearing. I found it intriguing that there were several characters that were never named - Sister Witch (how I loved her and ached for her!), the Bandit King, the feathered soldier, the red-haired bandit (actually I think he was eventually named, but mostly just called the red-haired bandit). What an interesting storytelling technique. I also adored the characterization of King Ott. He was evil, pathetic, and hysterical all wrapped up in one young person. And then there were the other elements of the story that became actual characters. The magic, the forest, the Stones, the wolf - they were all incredibly life-like and I loved them all. I've never read a book by Kelly Barnhill before, but I will have to keep my eye on her in the future. Don't go into this book thinking it is a quick read. This is one to go slowly with while savoring the whole essence. I don't think everyone will feel the same way about it, but I hope my students will give it a chance. ( )
  Bduke | Sep 30, 2015 |
This was a great book about the "wrong boy" who doesn't fit in his village, but who must guard his mother's magic when bandits come to town to take it. It was a very fun read! ( )
  caittilynn | Aug 24, 2015 |
A fabulous book. Beautifully written, like The Mostly True Story of Jack, but I liked this one even better. Barnhill created a complete new magical world filled with wonderful, and very intense, characters. ( )
  Inky_Fingers | Jul 31, 2015 |
This novel is beautifully written, but don’t let that deter you! It’s a great story as well!

Ned and his twin, Tam, build a raft but they don’t know how to handle the heavy current, causing them to fall into the river, killing Tam. Their mother, Sister Witch, can’t bear to lose her sons. Ned is not expected to survive, so she captures Tam’s soul and sews it into Ned’s body. There are consequences. The entire town feels that the Wrong Boy lived. When the Bandit King comes to steal the Sister Witch’s magic, Ned is the only one home to protect the magic. It’s then that everyone must rely on Ned to make the right decisions to save his mother, his town, and the country.

Aine is the daughter of the bandit king but doesn’t believe in thievery. When her father goes to steal magic, Aine wants to save her father from the evil that resides in him caused by the small magic he wears around his neck. She meets Ned and they embark on a journey to save everyone with some help from ancient magic.

I thought this was a good book! I read it in one day and enjoyed turning the pages to see what would happen next. There’s not a slow place; it moves at a nice pace and actually ends. My favorite characters are the stones and the wolf! Just read and you’ll see what I mean. ( )
  acargile | Apr 8, 2015 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Kelly Barnhillprimary authorall editionscalculated
Klassen, JonCover artistsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 161620351X, Hardcover)

“A lightning bolt erupted from the cloud and aimed directly at Ned’s heart. He couldn’t cry out. He couldn’t even move. He could just feel the magic sink into his skin and spread itself over every inch of him, bubbling and slithering and cutting deep, until he didn’t know where the magic stopped and he began.”

When Ned and his identical twin brother tumble from their raft into a raging, bewitched river, only Ned survives. Villagers are convinced the wrong boy lived. Sure enough, Ned grows up weak and slow, and stays as much as possible within the safe boundaries of his family’s cottage and yard. But when a Bandit King comes to steal the magic that Ned’s mother, a witch, is meant to protect, it's Ned who safeguards the magic and summons the strength to protect his family and community.

In the meantime, in another kingdom across the forest that borders Ned’s village lives Áine, the resourceful and pragmatic daughter of the Bandit King. She is haunted by her mother’s last words to her: “The wrong boy will save your life and you will save his.” But when Áine and Ned’s paths cross, can they trust each other long enough to make their way through the treacherous woods and stop the war about to boil over?

With a deft hand, acclaimed author Kelly Barnhill takes classic fairy tale elements--speaking stones, a friendly wolf, and a spoiled young king--and weaves them into a richly detailed narrative that explores good and evil, love and hate, magic, and the power of friendship.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:22:06 -0400)

When a Bandit King comes to take the magic that Ned's mother, a witch, is meant to protect, the stuttering, weak boy villagers think should have drowned rather than his twin summons the strength to protect his family and community, while in the woods, the bandit's daughter puzzles over a mystery that ties her to Ned.… (more)

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