Friday, October 05, 2018

Standing Room Only! Room On The Broom by Julia Donaldson

The witch had a cat and a hat that was black....

She's just your ordinary, regulation witch, warts and all, when she and her purring feline familiar take off for some witchery by the light of a full moon.

But this witch seems not quite able to keep it together.

First she loses her pointy hat, but a dog retrieves that. And then he asks THE question:

I am a dog,
As keen as can be.
Is there room on the broom
For a dog like me?

The witch and cat make room and up they zoom... until the witch loses the bow on her braid. But a big black bird finds the bow, and with a simple request, just like that, off they all go, witch, dog, bird, and cat.

So far so good, until...

They shot through the sky
To the Back of Beyond.
The witch clutched her bow,
But let go of her wand.

A witch without a wand just can't go on, so there's another emergency landing. But down on the ground it's nowhere to be found, until from the bog comes a frog with the dripping wet wand:

He dropped it politely
Then said with a croak,
As the witch dried the wand
on a fold of her cloak:

I'm a frog,
Clean as can be,
Is there room on the broom
For a frog like me?

Of course there is, but there is yet another obstacle to their mission, a fire-breathing sky dragon in the mood for a crispy witch entree' with a side of critter fries.

But with a nod to the tale of the Brementown Musicians, this witch gets by with a little help from her keen, clean, and clever friends, in this new lap-sized board book version, Room on the Broom Board Book (Dial Books, 2017 (New Am. Ed.), and in this delightful cumulative tale, the witch stirs up a new and improved broom with comfy seating for all her friends.

Julia Donaldson's leisurely rhyming narrative provides plenty of room to interpolate funny voices and spooky sound effects, making this one of the very best picture books for Halloween read-alouds. This large-sized edition shows off artist Alex Scheffler's terrific, detailed, and comic illustrations that extend the text in a story that merits many readings. And for a killer-diller combo, share this one with Linda William's wonderful The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything for a drop-dead Halloween duo.

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