Poor Druscilla. Her sore, ancient knees are so creaky and loud that she can't sneak up on anyone to play witchy tricks on Halloween. She and her faithful cat, Drizzle, try to find a way for her to sneak quietly, in this charming Halloween picture book that finally solves the mystery of why witches fly on broomsticks. Full color.
K-Grade 3—In the days before witches rode brooms, they snuck up on people on foot during Halloween to scare them. Druscilla, the oldest of all the witches, had knees that cracked and popped so loudly that she couldn't surprise anyone. Not one to be left behind, she looked for other means of frightening people. First she tried to ride her donkey, but it was too stubborn to fall under her spell. Next she tried the wheelbarrow, but it was too hard to steer. Then she turned her arms into wings by pasting feathers to them. Flying worked well until it began to rain. Her "ah ha!" moment came as she swept up the feathers. The broom would be perfect: a seat for her, a place to hold her jack-o'-lantern, plus a perch for her cat. All of the other witches agreed, and at the next worldwide witches council, broomsticks were voted in. The use of various fonts and their placement among the illustrations adds emphasis and visual interest to Walker's text. The atmospheric spreads have just the right amount of spookiness and ample touches of humor. —School Library Journal
Pre-school-Gr 3. Set in olden days, when witches went on tiptoe to frighten children on Halloween night, this picture book tells of Druscilla, an elderly witch who wants to do her part, though she is handicapped by knees so creaky-loud that they alert everyone to her approach. Determined to do her job, she looks for alternative locomotion, but her donkey proves stubbornly disobedient, her wheelbarrow is too difficult to steer or stop, and an experiment in flight involving “chickeny wings” ends in disaster. Undeterred, she perseveres and invents a classic: the flying broomstick. Best known for the Sibert Medal-winning Secrets of a Civil War Submarine (2005), Walker shows her lighter side in this witty picture book. White’s expressive paintings, wonderfully varied in size and approach but unified by style, capture both the comedy and the pathos of Druscilla’s predicament. With a strong main character, imaginative details, and many well-chosen words (including one amusing pun), this makes a fine read-aloud choice for Halloween.—Booklist