Earwig and the Witch

Earwig and the Witch

Book - 2012
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Although an orphan, Earwig has always enjoyed living at St. Morwald's, where she manages to make everyone do her bidding, but when she is taken in by a foster parents who are actually a witch and a demon, she has a hard time trying to turn the situation to her advantage.
Publisher: New York : Greenwillow Books, 2012
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780062075116
Branch Call Number: FICTION (JUV)
Characteristics: 117 p. : ill. ; 19 cm
Additional Contributors: Zelinsky, Paul O. - Illustrator


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vpl_childrens Dec 15, 2015

Reading level: grade 2. Interest level: ages 6-10. Mrs Briggs, the matron of St Morwald’s Home for Children, can’t figure out why Earwig has never been chosen by a foster family, but Earwig is happy to stay just where she is!

ChristchurchKids Dec 28, 2014

Diana Wynne Jones is the queen of fantasy. She was writing the fabulous Chrestomanci series, about orphans, witches and magic long before J. K. Rowling and Harry Potter came along. She has written lots of books, including the Chrestomanci series and Howl’s Moving Castle. Earwig and the Witch is the magical book that she wrote before she died earlier this year.

Earwig is a an orphan girl who lives at St Morwald’s Home for Children with her friend Custard. Earwig is quite happy living here and she says that “anyone who chose me would have to be very unusual.” She is a pretty unusual child but she seems to be able to make anyone do anything that she wants, like cooking her favourite food or playing hide and seek in the dark. One day a very strange couple come to the orphanage looking to adopt a child. The woman has two different coloured eyes and a raggety look to her face, and the man is very tall and looks like he has horns on his head. They adopt Earwig, but she discovers that the woman is a witch and only wants her as a slave to help her with her spells. Earwig is trapped in the house and wants nothing more than to go back to the orphanage with her friends. Will she be able to outwit the witch and escape? And who or what is the mysterious man with the horns?

Earwig and the Witch is a funny story about a feisty girl trying to fit into her new family. All the characters are quite strange and I especially liked Thomas the cat. The cover is very cool and really draws you in, with the spiderwebs and spiders crawling all over it. Marion Lindsay’s illustrations are spectacularly spooky and I love the little pictures of crows or spiders on each page. The only thing I didn’t like about this book was that it ended so suddenly. I would have liked to know more about her life in the house. Earwig and the Witch is perfect for those girls who don’t like fairies, but who still like a bit of magic.

Recommended for 7+ 7 out of 10

vmccreedy Aug 09, 2014

Earwig was left on the door of St. Morwald's Home for Children when she was still a baby, with a note saying, "Got the other twelve witches all chasing me. I'll be back for her when I've shook them off. It may take years. Her name is Earwig".

If you think, "oh, poor little girl. This is probably a story about how she escapes from a horrible orphanage..." Well, you couldn't be more wrong. Earwig loves the orphanage. It's clean, people are nice, she's got a great friend Custard, and somehow everyone does exactly what she wants. In fact, she wants to live her whole life there so much that every time some couple comes in to adopt a child, she'll make her ugliest, most unfriendliest face ever so the potential foster parents will turn away in disgust.

But this time, it didn't work. A strange looking woman, who called herself Bella Yaga, and Mandrake, a skinny man who seems to grow taller everytime you stare at him, came, took a look and decided to take Earwig home! How will Earwig escape her new home to get back to the orphanage?

This is one of Diana Wynne Jones' last novels. The easy chapter book features the same quirky humour and magic, and the illustrations are perfect for the story. Love the little spider and the crows that decorate the pages. Earwig befriends Thomas, Bella Yaga's talking cat, and together they make a fine pair.

May 09, 2013

Great illustrations - spot the frog! Text seems a little unfinished, not surprising since sadly this was Jones's last book.

rdl727 Dec 27, 2012

Read in December, 2012

I thought I'd like this book but found it lacking. The story moves at quite a quick pace which is great but nothing in this book seems grounded or thought out. I'm convinced this book was meant to be first in a series for several reasons. We are introduced to primary characters that are never developed or disappear altogether right after they're introduced. I can only imagine that the author, who is now deceased, planned to expand their backgrounds and story lines at a later time. There were questions that might have been answered in later stories such as, why was Earwig left on the doorstep of an orphanage, is Earwig a witch herself, what did the strange couple who claim they want Earwig as a foster child really want with her, and, in fact, who are they to begin with? I agree with another reviewer who feels this book might even have been a first draft. She also noted that the epilogue is just a throw away--as if the writer thought, I won't be able to finish this story so let's just wrap it up. (It is a terrible epilogue, in my opinion.) And, finally, I never knew what to make of her boast that she could make anyone do whatever she wanted them to do. She didn't appear to use magic just manipulation. Weird. It wasn't like she was horrible and eventually became good. She was rather likable in spite of being very manipulative. I would not recommend this

Mar 28, 2012

Like all this author's books, this was a good story. It is written for a much younger audience than her usual though- I think grade 2 and 3 students could read this one, but older kids will like it as well.


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Jul 21, 2014

joycemas thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 8 and 12


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Jul 21, 2014

Not every orphan would love living at St. Morwald's Home for Children, but Earwig does. She gets whatever she wants, whenever she wants it, and it's been that way since she was dropped on the orphanage doorstep as a baby. But all that changes the day Bella Yaga and the Mandrake come to St. Morwald's, disguised as foster parents. Earwig is whisked off to their mysterious house full of invisible rooms, potions, and spell books, with magic around every corner. Most children would run in terror from a house like that . . . but not Earwig. Using her own cleverness—with a lot of help from a talking cat—she decides to show the witch who's boss.


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