Sunday, August 08, 2010


I was very taken with the title of Keith McGowan's book The Witch's Guide to Cooking with Children, so I snatched up the audio version when I saw it at the library. I can't claim to have caught every word, but I did feel that I was listening to something different. Different is good.

This is an updating of Hansel and Gretel, the basic premise being that the witch from that story has survived all these years while her forest home has become what sounded to me like a suburb. She continues to enjoy her favorite meal, children. Our two main characters, a brother and sister, as in the original tale, have a sort-of father and a real stepmother who would both like to see their young ones land in the witch's stewing pot. How will our hero and heroine escape?

Part of this book is set up in the form of the witch's journal. I usually don't care for the journal thing, but it's much more...palatable, shall I say?...when it is being written by a witch describing where she gets the ingredients for her meals. You know, a food memoir! And this book seems to be set-up as the first in a series, something that often sets me off. The ending here is pretty satisfying, though, and avoids being totally serial-like.

So I'd have to say this book lives up to its clever title.

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