The Witch's Hand

Peter Utton, Author Farrar Straus Giroux $13.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-374-38463-0
The power of stories to seem more true than reality is the theme of this clever first book from a British author/illustrator. To explain the appearance of ``a horrible, brown crinkly thing pinned to the wall'' of his art studio, George's father tells his son that in the middle of the night he heard the ``slither-slither-pat-pat-cackle-cackle'' of a witch coming to steal the children. Just as the witch was ready to stab George's father with a dagger of vipers, he was saved by George's mother, who cut off the witch's hand; his father has pinned it to the wall ``to remind me to lock all the doors at night.'' When George's father admits that the ``hand'' is just a leaf and his tale of horror ``just a story,'' George laughs and says, ``Why, you rotten fibber!'' Although the story's ending may seem unsatisfactorily abrupt, Utton's suitably silly text and slapdash watercolors skillfully blend fright and humor into a story that retains its excitement even when the reader, like George, knows it can't be true. Ages 3-up. (Dec.)
Reviewed on: 10/01/1989
Release date: 10/01/1989
Hardcover - 32 pages - 978-1-85406-039-6
Hardcover - 32 pages - 978-1-86233-388-8
Hardcover - 1 pages - 978-1-86233-410-6
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