Halloween is almost here so treat yourselves to a story about one of the season’s most iconic characters – the witch. We’ve picked nine tales that will cast a spell on your child without being too scary. Magic!
1. Room On The Broom by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler, £6.99 (board book), Macmillan
When a kind-hearted witch returns a favour to the animals that have helped her during a storm, her trusty broom ends up rather cramped and snaps in two. Cue a farcical, funny adventure of friendship and quick-thinking as she and her passengers find themselves in the path of a greedy dragon who craves witch and chips for his tea…
This modern classic from the magical pairing of Donaldson and Scheffler has catchy rhyming text that children will love to chant along with, while a sound book version is available for younger readers. Available from Amazon
2. Meg and Mog by Helen Nicoll and Jan Pienkowski. £5.99 (paperback), Puffin
She’s been one of our favourite literary witches for more than 45 years but even after all that practice, poor Meg’s spells still go wrong.
From this first story where she mistakenly turns her four pals into mice at a Halloween party, to new time-travelling tale Meg and the Romans, our pointy-hatted heroine is accompanied on her adventures by loyal cat Mog, their pal Owl and plenty of mayhem.
Helen Nicoll’s fuss-free text, paired with Jan Pienkowski’s cartoon-style drawings in bold primary colours, give these books a pleasing simplicity perfect for babies and upwards. Available from Amazon
3. Jingle Spells by James Brown. £6.99 (paperback), Simon & Schuster
You get two seasonal celebrations for the price of one in this charming tale about little witch Trixie, whose favourite holiday isn’t Halloween – it’s Christmas! Her friends think she is as batty as a vampire so she writes to Father Christmas for help, only to find her kind are automatically on the naughty list.
So ensues an entertaining trip to the North Pole to redeem herself with Santa that sees her put a spell on the unwell elves in order to get all the presents ready for the big day. It’s lots of fun and a clever splicing of both holidays. Available from Amazon
4. Pretty by Canizales. £6.99 (paperback), Templar
Witch has a hot date with Troll but as she heads off to meet him for a picnic, the woodland creatures put doubts in her mind. How could anyone possible love her potato-shaped nose, pointy chin and crooked back? She uses her magic powers to make her body ‘perfect’ but alas, the results do not have the desired effect of wooing her man.
Brilliantly combining a positive feminist message about being true to yourself with a wicked twist at the end, this visually arresting book by Columbian author-illustrator Canizales will have you cackling with laughter. Available from Amazon
5. Mrs Blackhat by Chloe and Mick Inkpen. £12.99 (hardback), Hodder
Like any self-respecting witch, Mrs Blackhat’s love is black and she has everything in that colour – except her cat. He’s ginger and that just won’t do, so she sets out to try and remedy the situation with a few spells and a bit of online shopping.
Legendary Kipper author Mick and daughter Chloe have created a witty witchy tale with spell-binding tongue-twisting rhymes that will make the whole family laugh. There’s also a twist in tale as Mrs Blackhat’s efforts result in a cat that does indeed have black on it – but it is maybe a bit bigger than she expected… Available from Amazon
6. Where’s Mrs Witch? by Ingela P. Arrhenius. £6.99 (board book), Nosy Crow
Set out on a search for Mrs Witch with this new for 2019 hide-and-seek board book which introduces your baby to a cast of Halloween characters. The artwork is stunningly stylish, with hints of eye-catching fluorescent to really grab your little one’s attention.
What’s especially neat are the flaps behind which the spooky cast are concealed – they’re made from soft felt, making it easy for tiny hand to grab them (and less risk of ripping too). There’s an exciting surprise at the end in the form of a mirror so your little explorer can also seek themselves. Available from Amazon
7. That’s Not My Witch by Fiona Watt and Rachel Wells. £6.99 (board book), Usborne
Every family will have one of these much-loved textured baby books and this magic instalment is destined to be a favourite, with its friendly cast of witches with silky dresses, fluffy cats and sparkly wands. Available from Amazon
8. Hansel & Gretel by Bethan Woollvin. £6.99 (paperback), Two Hoots.
The traditional fairytale gets a wicked twist from the brilliant Bethan Woollvin, told from the perspective of good witch Willow. When the naughty siblings ransack her gingerbread cottage and play havoc with her spells, you can’t help but empathise when she decides to take her revenge.
It’s smart and oh-so stylish thanks to award-winning Bethan’s deliciously bold artwork, combining striking black and white outlines with bold Pantone orange. Available from Amazon
9. The Worst Witch by Jill Murphy. £5.99 (paperback), Penguin
I couldn’t do this list without including one of my all-time favourite childhood books, The Worst Witch. Mildred Hubble and her mates were true friends of mine growing up and the reason why I’ve never read Harry Potter (don’t judge!). As far as I am concerned, she is the number one schoolgirl sorcerer.
And 45 years after it was first published, The Worst Witch is still as popular as ever, with a seventh book coming out only last year. It’s a bit old for Baby Bookworm just yet but I can’t wait to pass on my old copies (pictured above) and introduce him to the magic of life at Miss Cackle’s Academy for Witches. Available from Amazon