NZ Book Month – The Witch in the Cherry Tree

witchinthecherrytreeThe Witch in the Cherry Tree by Margaret Mahy, illustrated by Jenny Williams

Margaret Mahy is a taonga, a treasure, a wonderful writer of the most fabulous books for the very young, and the young, and the growing-a-bit-older-but-still-young.

Margaret Mahy says her stories are meant to be heard, and I can hear this one – the matter of fact mother, the imaginative, slight scared but slightly brave boy, the witch who is doing her best to be angry and frightening but really just wants a cake. She tries many tricks to get David, the boy, to give her a cake, and eventually, she succeeds, not by trickery, but due to the kindness of a small boy.

I love the way that this story represents a child’s imagination. It all really could have happened, or was it just a boy weaving dreams around cakes and storms and birds on the back lawn. I also love the tone of the mother’s voice, accepting her child’s imagination, and working with it.

The book ends with a recipe for Gingerbread Witches. We have tried it. It works.


NZBMsmlI’m taking up Ele’s challenge, and blogging a book a day in October, which is New Zealand Book Month. All the books are by New Zealand authors.


5 responses to “NZ Book Month – The Witch in the Cherry Tree

  1. Pingback: The Road to Castle Hill « Homepaddock

  2. Margaret Mahy is out and out one of the best writers ever.

  3. I’m totally with you on that, Third Cat. Happy to see Mahy’s books featuring in this esteemed forum.

  4. There’s more Mahy to come, I promise, including a couple of her books for older children, which I think are marvellous.

  5. Hurrah!
    As well as being rollicking and rhythmical and wondrous to read aloud, there’s also a gentle subversiveness about Mahy, which I like very much and which I think comes out more strongly in her books for older children.