Witch Week

I have so enjoyed Lory's Witch Week event!  Every day there was a new post with a great discussion of a DWJ book, and there was a giveaway (which I won, whee!) and we had a readalong of Witch Week. So, onward to the book:

The pupils at Larwood House boarding school are troubled students, many of them witch orphans.  Nan is a social outcast even in this bunch, and so is Charles.  But their tedious and unhappy lives actually get dangerous when an accusation surfaces that someone in the class is a witch.  Pretty soon it becomes obvious that indeed there is witchcraft about, and while it's funny--and Nan and Charles are starting to hope for something--in this world, witches are hunted and burned.  How can they escape? 

Witch Week is a really odd book, because on the surface, it's hilarious.  My 11-year-old read it with glee.  It is funny; all these ridiculous things happen and there is total mayhem.  At the same time, this is a story involving a lot of vicious bullying in a school that is dismal at best, and a background world which is exactly like our own (around 1980), except that inborn magical talent is both extremely common and also punished by death--on a bonfire. It's the non-magical world that functions as an escape route, inverting the usual trope of a kid with a rotten life or a problem escaping into a fantastic land of magic.

This is a Chrestomanci book--in fact it's the first Chrestomanci book I ever read, so I was confused for years until I found some others--but he doesn't play a large part.  He is certainly very effective during his short time onstage, though; here we see him at work, doing his job as it must usually happen, without the entire castle and family tagging along as well.

 I think I like this cover better than most.  Usually it has an illustration of Nan wrapped in a pink blanket on a broomstick, which is a memorable scene but not, to my mind, the best for a cover image.  I like the birds, and the silhouette of Chrestomanci.

If you're new to the Chrestomanci universe, this is not the best book to start with, but it is a great read--and it's really funny.

A side note: I have never thought of anyone who I thought could play Chrestomanci well, but it just occurred to me that maybe Tom Hiddleston would be a good fit.  I'm not one to swoon over him but I do think he's got the look and that he could do the manner.  Thoughts?


  1. I'm glad you came along for the ride! I'm looking forward to next year already. As for Chrestomanci, Daniel Day-Lewis (in his younger days) springs to mind for me for some reason.

  2. Oooh, that would have been a good choice! He's got the bone structure.

  3. I am always on board for Tom Hiddleston to play parts. But maybe let him get a bit older first? Chrestomanci in Witch Week already has two adolescent children. Anyway, YES, I am strongly into this casting. I think Tom Hiddleston would do it brilliantly.


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