a witchy read and a haunting song


My mother recently tracked down a book that she often rented from the library when she was little:


The Witch Family by Eleanor Estes


She remembers it with a different cover, of course -- this is clearly an updated version for a different era of children. The cover's kind of repulsive if you ask me, but I am not a seven-year-old, so I'm not exactly the target audience. My mom remembers the cover red, with a black illustration, and that it seemed to be called The Witch Family of Glass Hill.

It's a charming little book about two little girls, Amy and Clarissa, who imagine (and often illustrate) thoroughly a witch family; they scare and delight themselves by talking out the details. First there is Old Witch who is wicked and "banquished" to live alone on a glass hill, then Amy takes pity upon her and sends her a Little Witch Girl to have as a family, which makes room for other little family members too. With her incantations, Old Witch gets the Little Witch Girl a red rocker and a brass bed with owls on each post.


It's the little details like that which made me really look forward to reading a chapter before sleep every night. It definitely put me in an Autumny mood, and I enjoyed the power and detail of Amy's imagination, the type of details that take precedence in an imaginative little girl's fantasies. The style of storytelling is old-fashioned and conversational without being dumbed down (I like that in a children's book - like Edith Nesbit or J.M. Barrie, but this is quite 50s, published in 1960) and it's sweetly retro.

Now, inspired by the seat of choice in the book, I am listening to "Red Rocking Chair" by Black Prairie on repeat. Love it.

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