The Witch Next Door by Norman Bridwell was one of my first read-alone books. It's the story of a brother and sister who discover a witch has moved in next door. She does things a little differently - like the way she shops, or moves her furniture, or the fact that all her clothes are black (Personally, I think that's just a fashion plan. If everything's black, mix-and-match is a cinch.) But they soon discover that just because someone is different, it doesn't mean they're bad - it means they're interesting.
Some years ago - 10? 15? - my mother sorted through all her pictures and keepsakes and created albums for each of her daughters. Included in my album was a letter I had written to my grandparents who were spending the winter in Arizona. I tried to photograph the letter so you could read it for yourself, but it's written in faded pencil on yellowed Big Chief Tablet paper and no matter what I tried, it wasn't legible. You'll have to take my word for the contents:
Dear Grandma and Grandpa,
Debbie (little sister) and I stayed at Bernice's (aunt) yesterday. I would build up blocks and Debbie would laugh when I knocked them down. It was lots of fun.
I ordered a book at school and it came today. I payed for it with my own money. The name of it is The Witch Next Door.
I think my natural writing talents were obvious, even at that early age.
My next two Halloween favorites are from the Chapter Book era of my reading history. Between 1969 and 1998, Ruth Chew wrote dozens of books featuring witches and magic. Yes, I had outgrown Mrs. Chew's books by 1998 (at which time I had an 8-year-old of my own), but when The Wednesday Witch was published, I was eight and it was an instant favorite. I really wanted a witch to show up at my house on her flying vacuum cleaner and shrink herself to live in my dollhouse.
What the Witch Left came out a few years later. I can't remember the details of it quite as clearly, but I know it was well-read and my copies of both books still exist....in a box....in the basement....somewhere.... Again, you'll just have to take my word for it.
What are your Halloween favorites - childhood or current?