Do Witches Make Fishes? by Jason Mayo,
illustrated by Justin Wolfson

(Suggested reading level: Pre-school through grade 3)

I have to read a couple of Halloweeny books around this time of year, so when this one showed up in my mail last week it moved to the top of the pile. I read it aloud with Amber (10) a couple of nights ago, and we had differing opinions of the book.

The story centers around a nameless boy who hates healthy food, only wants to eat candy, and refuses the meals his mother makes. After being warned by his mother that he need to eat good food, he closes his eyes and wishes she would disappear. When he opens his eyes, his mom has been replaced by a witch, who states that the stew is actually her potion and threatens him with a horrible fate if he refuses to eat it.

“I promise you this:
All the fine and the dandy
Will soon disappear.
There will be no more candy.”

“You’ll land in a pit
Filled with veggies and things.
With your lollipops just out of reach, on a string.”

Thankfully the boy remembers that witches hate candy, so he defeats her with a sticky mess of goodies he pulls from his pocket. Then he wishes for his mom back and promises to eat the meals she prepares.

Amber said it was good. She liked it and since children are the target audience, you should really listen to her opinion not mine.

I personally didn’t like it. The rhythm of the writing was okay, even if some of the rhymes seemed a bit forced to me. and the illustrations were bright and eye-catching. It’s the story that I found kind of odd. The mom turning into a witch was okay, although I guess she was actually replaced by the witch, she didn’t turn into her, but the witch was the same as the mom just scarier. She still wanted the boy to eat the stew. And the witch, who was mean and frightening, was afraid of candy, even though the moral of the story is that candy’s bad for you and you should eat your carrots and fishes. You would think that the witch, the evil character, would be pro rotting kids teeth out and making them fat and juicy.

Eat healthy is a good lesson, but this one is not a book I’ll go back to.

If you’re interested in the book, though, you’ll be happy to know that all the profits are being donated by the author to the Garden of Dreams Foundation, whose goal is to utilize the power and magic of Madison Square Garden and its properties to bring joy and happiness to children facing devastating problems – whether they relate to illness, homelessness, poverty, foster care issues or tragedy.

As to the question of whether witches make fishes, I’d have to say yes, since they certainly don’t make candy.

Published August 10, 2010 by AuthorHouse
36 pages

Challenges: 100+

Our copy was provided by the author for review and the above is our honest opinion. I am an Amazon associate.