The Worst Witch
By Jill Murphy
Mildred Hubble is starting her first year at Miss Cackle’s Academy for Witches—and making a mess of it! She can’t ride her broomstick without crashing, she’s always getting her spells mixed up, and worst of all, the teacher’s pet, Ethel, has just become her sworn enemy. (Courtesy of goodreads.com)
Adult Point of View
When I first started reading The Worst Witch, I got the wrong impression. I was seeing all these parallels to Harry Potter. There is a magic school, a mean teacher that picks on Mildred, they have pet cats, but other schools have owls, and they’re in black uniforms with sashes designating their placement. Can you see why I got this impression?
The original publishing date for this story was 1974! The author was not lifting ideas off of the famous HP. (I turn my head and cough in embarrassment.) Onward with the review…
Now, with my new-found knowledge, I jumped into the story of Mildred and thoroughly enjoyed it. The Worst Witch is written for young middle-grade readers and the situations are relatable. No one wants to get in trouble, and Mildred is always having to go to the principal’s office. Everyone wants to be recognized and Mildred is able to save her school from the clutches of evil witches.
Storytelling has changed since 1974. There are times when the POV flips from one person’s thoughts to omniscient, there is no explanation as to why Ethel is so rude and mean-spirited, and there is no foreshadowing of the evil approaching their school – which are all things that would be addressed in a new book. However, I think most kids don’t care about POV, understand that some people are just mean, and expect something bad to come.
It’s a fun story, and I recommend it for young readers.
4 out of 5 stars
If you liked The Worst Witch, try Dragon Slippers by Jessica Day George.