WEE WINNIE WITCH'S SKINNY: An Original African American Scare Tale

Virginia Hamilton, Author, Barry Moser, Illustrator , illus. by Barry Moser. Scholastic/Blue Sky $16.95 (32p) ISBN 978-0-590-28880-4

Late author Hamilton, who collaborated with Moser on A Ring of Tricksters , concocted this nightmarish tale from elements of folklore. In the bizarre events, pictured in shadowy wood engravings, rural child James Lee sees a Wee Winnie (the name his mother used "to make a witch sound small") stalking his Uncle Big Anthony. Hair-raising illustrations show a cat transforming into a hag, peeling off her "skinny" (skin) and riding through the air on the uncle's back. Meanwhile, a "far-seer" woman applies "spice-hot pepper witch-be-gone potion" to the skinny, which destroys its owner when she attempts to reinhabit her epidermis. The disjointed storytelling contributes to the suspense; the book's malevolent sexual overtones and startling illustrations will haunt readers after the last page is turned. Ages 8-up. (Aug.)

Reviewed on: 08/09/2004
Release date: 08/01/2004
Genre: Children's
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