"The Witches" by Ronald Dahl...need other opinions

My 9 year old twins have been invited to participate in a summer reading group. The first book that they will be reading is “The Witches” by Ronald Dahl. Before my wife and I tell the group leader that this book is dark and inappropriate, we’d like to get some other opinions. Has anyone else ever read this book? We took a look at a few pages and it didn’t look good (to say the least!).

We already know what the answer is, but we’re just looking for some confirmation that we’re not overreacting.

God Bless,

I read it in 5th grade. I loved it. Its deffinately not promoting witch craft if thats your concern. It is about a boy who goes to a hotel with his grandma?(i read it a long time ago) and somehow comes across a witches convention about destroying children because they hate children. He is turned into a mouse along with another boy and has to find a way to stop the witches.

I read it last year and loved it. Like the person before me said, it doesn’t promote witch craft, in fact I think any kid that reads it will probably wind up being afraid of witch craft, which is a good thing.
How old are the kids that are going to be reading this? It may be a tad bit scary to some kids under the age of 6. But other than that theres nothing wrong morally with the book.
I wouldn’t suggest the movie for young kids. While I love the movie now, it scared me something wicked when I was kid:blush:

A 9 yo boy should do fine with reading the book. Basic storyline is that a boy is orphaned and goes to live with his grandmother. She takes him on holiday to cheer him up. While there he runs into witches who turn him into a mouse. They’re planning on turning all children into mice. Boy and grandmother foil the plan and take care of the witches. As the book closes, they start planning on taking care of the witches in the other countries so that children everywhere will be safe.

Just to clarify, the author’s name is Roald Dahl, no “n”. Famous for among other things, James and the Giant Peach and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

and the BFG(the Big Friendly Giant) and i think Matilda.

This was also made into a movie a few years back - it was entertaining.

I love the movie now, but hated it as a kid. The witches gave me nightmares the first time I watched as a child:o

I have read this book, as has my dd. It does not promote witchcraft. The witches are very obviously the “baddies”, and the boy and his grandmother the “goodies”. I loved reading the book out loud with all the scary voices.

Roald Dahl also wrote many short stories for adults-many of which are quite graphic sexually! Make sure your kids don’t find any of those.

WHAT?!?! Are you sure that’s not just a rumor? I hope it’s just a rumor! :eek:

Yep, I’m afraid so. In fact, I think I remember hearing talk about banning Dahl’s children’s books from public primary schools about 15 or 20 years ago because of fear kids would like them so much and look up some of his other books in the public libraries and find the graphic adult-themed ones. I remember reading one collection in college that was called Switch B---- and another one called Kiss, Kiss. I have to admit I found them very entertaining and clever at the time, but after reading them, I remember feeling kind of “yucky” for the rest of the day, like I needed to take a shower or something.
Not all of the stories in adult fiction books were sexual; in fact many of them were just very clever thrillers. They made TWILIGHT ZONE episodes out of a couple of them.

The plot to “The Witches” sounds kinda life “The BFG” to me, but I’d like to check it out sometime. I’ve got this list from the library of the 100 Most Banned Books of 1990 to 2000, and I’ve been working my way through them in the past year. I’d much rather read them myself and see if I find them objectionable (and know them in the future to be objectionable when I have kids) then for someone to tell me it’s bad.

And my mother and I are laughing over here about Roald Dahl writing erotica. Didn’t Shel Silversten (“Where The Sidewalk Ends”) known for also writing a book called “The Joy Of Gay Sex?” I think that’s on the list too, but I don’t have it right in front of me.

I was looking at the ALA’s list and I can honestly say, so far, I can’t remember hearing of a book being banned in my area. I found it funny that “Where’s Waldo?” made the list of banned books. Honestly, what this made me call into to question is why is there not a rating system for books as there are for movies or video games or even the WARNING sign you see on CD’s sometimes? I doubt it would make a difference but I have always wondered this. A child could pretty easily get his hands on just about any book no matter how immoral it is. How does a book go about getting banned?

Oh, I see. I don’t think it’s as bad as I first thought. I think maybe reading “adult stories that were sexually explicit” made me think of the same kinds of things you’d find in an “adult” store. Probably nothing worse than the PG13 movies of today, huh?

I wouldn’t classify those stories of Dahl to be “erotica” as much as I’d say more something along the lines of “graphically-Freudian” If you do some Google searches, you can probably read some of these stories online for free.

Just jumping in - Richard Scarry also drew cartoons for playboy!

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