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Humbug Witch

by Lorna Balian

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2009109,024 (4.18)None
Despite looking the part, a little witch cannot seem to do the things that witches are supposed to do.

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Showing 1-5 of 9 (next | show all)
A-freakin-dorable! And with a surprise ending too? Rare in a children's book, in my very humble opinion. :) A very cute story - but I need to get another copy! Mine has a missing page! #TagSaleFind ( )
  coffeefairy | Nov 21, 2020 |
Great character description and surprise ending. One of my favorite parts was the Magic Potion recipe-so creative! ( )
  kimpiddington | Nov 15, 2015 |
hi ( )
  WrenGoblirsch | Aug 30, 2015 |
Humbug Witch by Lorna Balian is about a young witch who is frustrated because her spells don't work. It's perfect for children who love to play dress up and turn it into an all day affair.

This little witch has everything she needs; the hat, the broom, the shoes, and the hair. But none of her spells work and she can't make her broom fly.

With this sort of set up, the punch line is usually a try-try-again type moral. Here though, at the end of day, the little witch pulls off her witchy attire one piece at a time as she gets ready for bed. Underneath all that, there's a little girl who has a big imagination and is tired out from a full day of play. ( )
  pussreboots | Jan 13, 2015 |
Originally published in 1965 (my edition is a reprint from Abingdon Press, put out in 1985), Humbug Witch is a charming little vintage picture-book, following the trials and tribulations of a witch who just can't seem to do anything right. Although she looks the part, with her big nose, crooked teeth, and stringy red hair, and has the proper attire, from her tall black hat (slightly squashed) to her orange gloves, somehow her spells just don't seem to work! Whether she's trying to make her broom fly, or to turn her cat Fred into an alligator, everything she does is a big flop. Is she a failure - a humbug witch? Or is she something else altogether...?

Many readers will correctly guess the answer to this question, and the revelation waiting for them at the end of the tale, but others, especially the young children at whom Lorna Balian's tale is aimed, might very well be surprised! The story itself is engaging, and the artwork, which has a vintage 60s style, is fun and appealing. The Humbug Witch is rather gross looking (in an endearing way), making her eventual 'transformation' all the more satisfying! All in all, a sweet little witchy adventure, one I recommend to fans of the genre. I might check out this author's Humbug Potion, if I get a chance... ( )
1 vote AbigailAdams26 | Apr 30, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 9 (next | show all)
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     There was this WITCH… and all of her was small, except her nose.  That was very BIG. She had two crooked teeth and long, stringy red hair.  It was so long she kept tripping over it.

     She wore a slightly squashed, tall, black, pointed hat like Witches always wear, orange gloves, a hand knit black wool shawl, and old plaid apron, red and white striped stockings, and funny looking black shoes with buckles on them.  She had a good sturdy broom, and a black cat named Fred.

     You can see for yourself…She was truly a frightening looking, horrible, witchey, WITCH.

     But….When she tried to DO things, they never worked the way they were supposed to for witches.  Like when she wanted to laugh wickedly and scare everyone.  It never sounded “Cackle-Cackle-Cackle”.  It always sounded “Giggle-Giggle-Giggle.”  Or like when she wanted to go to Portugal, or Chicago, or to the next door neighbours, she would climb on her good sturdy broom and say all sorts of magic words, and wait a few minutes… and NOTHING would happen. Then she would jiggle her good sturdy broom and say more magic words, real LOUD and wait a l-o-n-g time….and still nothing would happen.  Nothing at all! The broom would not move an inch.

     When she wanted to turn Fred into an alligator, or a hippopotamus, or a candy bar, she would get down on her hands and knees and look Fred square in the eye and say all kinds of magic words, and wait…and wait…But Fred just stayed a cat!

      When she wanted to cook up a batch of Magic Potion, she would dump all the very best things in her very best kettle…Things like SOUR MILK, PAPRIKA, MOLASSES, PRUNE PITS, EGG SHELLS, HAIR TONIC, APPLE PEELINGS, PICKLE JUICE, CINNAMON, GENUINE RAINWATER, COUGH SYRUP, and PEANUT BUTTER.  And she would stir it, and stir it, and stir it.  And say all the magic words she could think of.  And….then she would stir it some more. It sizzled a little, but it never got smoky, or bubbly, or exploded like magic potions are supposed to do.  All it did was make Fred terribly sick to his stomach!

     She finally decided it was just no use!  She stood her good sturdy broom in the corner. She took off her funny looking black shoes with the buckles.  She took off her plaid apron. She took off her hand knit black wool shawl.  She took off her slightly squashed tall, black, pointed hat.  She took off her orange gloves, and she took off her long, stringy red hair. She took off her mask.  And went to bed.  So did Fred.
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Despite looking the part, a little witch cannot seem to do the things that witches are supposed to do.

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Despite looking the part, a little witch cannot seem to do the things that witches are supposed to do.

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