Room on the Broom – Julia Donaldson, Axel Scheffler
Room on the Broom – The witch and her cat couldn’t be happier, flying through the sky on their broomstick-until the witch drops her hat, then her bow, then her wand! Luckily, three helpful animals find the missing items and all they want in return is a ride on the broomstick. But is there room on the broom for so many new friends? And when disaster strikes, will they be able to save the witch from the clutches of a hungry dragon?
From the acclaimed creators of The Gruffalo, this enchanting story of quick wits and friendship is full of humor and adventure-and just the right amount of spookiness.
There’s always room for one more on this affable witch’s broomstick… or is there? In another mild-mannered tale from the creators of the Smarties Prize-winning picture book, The Gruffalo, a witch and her happily purring cat fly through the wind on their broomstick, without a care in the world, until the witch’s black hat blows away. In the process of retrieving it, they pick up another passenger, a polite and helpful dog. All goes well until the witch’s hair bow flies off. And then her wand. And then real disaster strikes–in the shape of a big red dragon, a broken broom, and some very important (but notably absent) friends. Julia Donaldson’s story, though not earthshaking in plot or rhyme, is a pleasant way to pass the time leading up to the witching hour (Halloween!) especially when paired with the friendly illustrations by Axel Scheffler. Readers will especially love the final illustration, in which our heroes solve their space problems once and for all. (Ages 4 to 7) –Emilie Coulter
From Publishers Weekly
In this lightweight, witty story, helpful animals find “room on the broom” of a generous witch. At first, a striped cat accompanies the cheerful sorceress: “How the cat purred/ and how the witch grinned,/ As they sat on their broomstick/ and flew through the wind.” Next, a spotted dog retrieves the witch’s flyaway black hat and asks to come aboard. The three riders soon welcome a green parrot (who finds the witch’s lost hair ribbon) and a frog (who rescues her wand from the bottom of a pond). When threatened by a dragon, the loyal animals form a “Brementown Musicians” chimera whose “terrible voice,/ when it started to speak,/ was a yowl and a growl/ and a croak and a shriek.” The witch repays them by conjuring a cushier vehicle. Donaldson and Scheffler, previously paired for The Gruffalo, emphasize the airborne animals’ contentment and evoke sympathy for the broom’s driver. In Scheffler’s comical panels and insets, the witch has a warty nose and lace-up boots, but wears a pleasant smile; Donaldson puts a spooky/silly spin on the folktale format. The metrical rhyme and goofy suspense aren’t groundbreaking, but readers will likely find it refreshing to see a witch playing against type. Ages 4-8.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
From School Library Journal
K-Gr 3-A witch and her cat pick up a dog, a bird, and a frog, and fly off on her broomstick. The frog jumps for joy, the broomstick snaps in two, the animals land in a bog, and a dragon captures the witch. What to do? As in the Grimms’ “The Bremen Town Musicians,” the animals, covered in mud, stand on each other and “yowl,” “growl,” “croak,” and “shriek,” scaring the dragon and saving the witch. All’s well that ends well for the witch conjures up a super broom with seats for the cat and dog, a nest for the bird, and a pool for the frog. The story is in rhyme, bouncing merrily along, full of fun, and not at all scary. The illustrations are witty and wonderful. All the characters, even the dragon, have the same goofy grin and large, round eyes. Dressed in a purple skirt, red blouse, and black cape and hat, the witch, with a long, ginger braid, is more friendly than frightening. The image of the red dragon carrying her, passed out cold, is a hoot. And her cat is not the traditional black cat; it looks more like a baby tiger. The result is a surefire read-aloud hit.
Pamela K. Bomboy, Chesterfield County Public Schools, VA
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
I grew up in a tall terraced Victorian London house with my parents, grandmother, aunt, uncle, younger sister Mary and cat Geoffrey (who was really a prince in disguise. Mary and I would argue about which of us would marry him).
Mary and I were always creating imaginary characters and mimicking real ones, and I used to write shows and choreograph ballets for us. A wind-up gramophone wafted out Chopin waltzes.
I studied Drama and French at Bristol University, where I met Malcolm, a guitar-playing medic to whom I’m now married.
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