Monday, February 6, 2012

Earwig and the Witch

Earwig and the Witch
by Diana Wynne Jones
Greenwillow, 2012. 116 pgs. Fiction.

Aside from a book of letters, essays, etc., forthcoming, Earwig and the Witch is Diana Wynne Jones last book, since she passed away in March of last year. Though short and for a younger audience than normal, it still contains her quirky humor andnonchalantly determined characters. In this story Earwig lives at St. Morwald's Home for Children, but unlike most orphans, she has no interest in being adopted because at St. Morwald's she has everyone doing whatever she wants them to do and lives a happy and fulfilling life. But one day she is adopted away by a very strange couple, an angry, ugly woman and her husband who is very tall, very dark and occasionally transparent. Soon she finds herself in the home of a witch and a warlock, doing chores. Earwig says she will work for them if they will teach her magic and the witch agrees but immediately breaks her promise, threatening to give Earwig worms if she disobeys. Earwig and the witch's talking cat soon work out a way to double-cross the witch and protect themselves from her wormy spells. And though the ending may not be quite what you would expect, it is in keeping with Earwig's personality and is satisfying in the Diana Wynne Jones way. May she rest in peace. Paul Zelinsky's illustrations are a fine addition to the fun text.

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