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Friday, March 25, 2011

The Cold Water Witch

The Cold Water Witch
by Yannick D Murphy
illustrations by Tom Lintern

Ages 4-8

Tricycle Press; 1 edition (August 10, 2010)

Typically, I take a quick look through the books Ana picks up at the library, just in case it has content that I am not thrilled about. When she brought The Cold Water Witch to me the other day for the usual scan-and-approve procedure before checking it out, I made a mental note that it could be a bit scary, but let her bring it home anyway.

I was surprised by how much she likes it. So much so that I had to share it here. It is a simple story, something the author's mom told her when she was little.

In the middle of the night, as a little girl lay in bed, the Cold Water Witch pops in and tries to entice the little girl into following her into the icy cold land.

The girl refuses, naturally, and tries her best to trick the witch. Does she succeed? Indeed she does, or we wouldn't have a story, of course.

It is a picture book with just about 15 pages, an easy 10-minute read for Ana. But, each of the half a dozen times so far, she takes her time looking at the illustrations and pointing out the details she notices in them - like what the cat is doing, the Fish Stix and Soft Pretzels in the fridge, the Ladybug Adventures book (she thought it was the Ladybug magazine she used to enjoy a few years ago, until we moved on to Click from Cricket).

I liked the illustrations. The bluish white and grey tones depicting the icy coldness made me shiver. The earthy orange reds towards the end where they sip tea and play indeed changed the mood to a warm and pleasant one. The witch has a comic edge to her portrayal, and the little girl is shown as brave, almost mad, that she is being pursued by this icy witch.

I am not convinced that this book would be as easily accepted and enjoyed by children as Ana did. It does seem chilly in an eerie, creepy kind of way. But, the presentation is rather light and positive, favoring the little girl.

Was it a scary book, Ana?

No, Mama! It is a fun book! The icy witch looks silly, not scary at all.

What was the favorite part of this book for you?

Umm... I think I liked that the witch said we could skate on the icy lake.

What about the little girl in the book? Did you think the witch would get her?

Not really. The little girl didn't look scared of the witch. And she tricked the witch, but she helped her afterwards, and they looked like sisters in the end.

So, there it is. Not a book I would have picked up voluntarily. But, I am not a soon-to-be-six year old.

[image source: Illustrator Tom Lintern's Website]

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