Saturday, October 1, 2016

2nd October Witches - series for beginning readers

Last post I wrote about beginning chapter books about ghosts and here I want to tell you about what is popular in the library for my students who love to read about witches. There is plenty to excite those who are fluent readers but not yet ready for the more sophisticated series such as Araminta Spook, Septimus Heap, Ottoline, Goth GirlWitchworld or Harry Potter. 

I was a witch fan when I was a young reader and there wasn't a lot to choose from. E.L. Konigsburg's Jennifer, Hecate Macbeth, William McKinlay and and Me, Elizabeth and Eva Ibbotson's Which Witch?though are still favourite books of mine. The witch fans at school start of course with picture books like  Meg and Mog and Valerie Thomas' Winnie the Witch series and as they start to read for themselves they borrow Deborah Hautzig's  Little Witch and Rose Impey's Titchy Witch, which has just been reimaged and reissued.  So here, in roughly increasing difficulty and length is ten other series witch fans will love.

1. Witch in Training by Maeve Friels. Jessica the heroine here is learning to be a witch and there are eight books in which you get to know her well.

2. Heidi Hecklebeck by Wanda Coven. Eight year old Heidi has a secret. She is a witch in disguise and only the family is meant to know. There are currently 16 books in this series  and it is probably the most popular series with the Year 1 girls once they have read all of Billie B. Brown and Ella and Olivia.

3. Dorrie the Little Witch  by Patricia Coombs. This series of books was popular when I started teaching but then they disappeared. They are now back and at least four have been reissued with the original endearing black and white illustrations,  but in hardback. It is a pity the publishers didn't increase the size of the print because my readers are put off by small font size even though there is not too much text on each page.

4. Winnie the Witch by Laura Owen and Korky Paul. These stories originated as a spin-off from the picture books by Valerie Thomas. Recently when I tried to replace a missing copy I saw that these have also been remerged and are now called Winnie and Wilbur. Wilbur is Winnie's cat.

5. Rumblewick's Diary by Hiawyn Oram. Like Wilbur, Rumblewick is a witch's cat. He is tasked with turning Haggy Aggy his unwilling witch into a credible witch. He records in his diary all the problems he has with her. There are two picture books in this series too, with wonderful illustrations by Sarah Warburton.

6. Hubble Bubble by Tracey Corderoy. Pandora's granny is a witch. We meet her first in a picture book with illustrations by Joe Berger, but there are five chapter books for beginning readers, that are full of mayhem and a little magic.

7. Witch Baby and Me by Debi Gliori.  The narrator, Lily is nine and she has a one year old sister, Daisy. She is no ordinary baby. She is a witch baby and nobody knows this except Lily who sees her make the fridge float and turn people into slugs.  There are four books about these sisters.

8. Bella Donna by Ruth Symes. Bella Donna is a witchling – a young witch who must keep her powers a secret, and only use magic when she’s at home in the enchanted Coven Road. There are six books in this series.

9. Monstrous Maud by A.B. Saddlewick. There are six books about Maud and Rotwood where she goes to school. She has a pet rat called Quentin and a perfect twin sister, Milly.

10. The Worst Witch by Jill Murphy is a series everyone should read. Mildred Hubble attends a boarding school for witches and has many mishaps, lots of friend and teacher problems just like Harry Potter, but it is for much younger readers and it was written long before Harry Potter. Some of my Year 2 readers struggle to get into these because the sentences are longer and more complex, but once someone reads them some or they listen to the audio book they are hooked. There are now seven books in this series.

Are there any good witch series for this age group, that I have missed?

1 comment:

  1. This is such a great topic and you have so many series that I have not seen so I did some serious shopping today based on this post - thanks