Book Reviews by NBPL Teens

The Witches by Roald Dahl

Review by Anna

Post Date:05/24/2023

the wtiches


Who’s bald, wears gloves, hates children, has fire in their eyes, blue spit, and is female? They are not other than witches. The Witches by Roald Dahl starts off with the death of the narrator’s parents. Having no other guardians, he is then taken care under the wing of his grandmother who spends her days telling tales about witches to distract him from all that was happening after the tragedy. She would discuss how there was the Grand High Witch and how she ruled over everyone else. She would tell about how the witches met up once a year in a hotel to come up with a plan.


Ironically the narrator and his grandmother would meet up in the hotel where the witches were scheming their evil plan. As he navigates through the hotel, he finds his way in a ballroom, which after a while begins to fill up with elegant ladies. But these are no ordinary ladies, these are witches. As the boy realizes this in horror, he eavesdrops on their evil plan. 


The Grand High Witch discloses that they shall carry out a plan to turn all children into mice for they despised the sight of them. Through a potion that will be mixed into candies sold through shops, children from all over would become mice after the consumption of these sweets. Amazed by this plan, the Grand High Witch introduced Bruno Jenkins as the test subject for the success rate of the plan. And once he saw the chocolate that contained the potion to turn children into mice, he ate it and sure enough he turned into a mouse. The witches eventually whiff out the smell of the narrator, and through a chain of events he too becomes a mouse after consuming the potion.


The two boys arriving by his grandmother’s side make a plan to eliminate all the witches once and for all. They use the potion and turn it against the witches. The witches had all been eliminated, their evil schemes would not affect any more children than it already had. And although the narrator never fully turned into human again, he was satisfied and content with his grandmother.


I really enjoyed this novel because of its easy to understand storyline. I found it interesting that the author left the narrator in a mouse form instead of continuing the storyline to make him turn into a human again. I really liked that addition in the novel.  I feel like it was a nice ending and helped give off a more realistic narrative. 


The characterizations of the grandmother and narrator were nicely demonstrated as well. From the author’s use of descriptive language, the grandmother is conveyed as carrying and full of warmth for children. It can also be seen that the narrator is a child full of innocence and good intention. I particularly was pleased how Dahl chose to make the villain a group of witches instead of one individual. I think it brought a greater representation of multiple evils that are present in society. 

Overall, The Witches was a fantastic book. It’s great for children who are interested in mystery and dark genres of literature. It holds a captivating storyline and its use of narration through the first person point of view is well thought out. The book is definitely worth reading!

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