cover image The Three Witches

The Three Witches

Zora Neale Hurston, , adapted by Joyce Carol Thomas, illus. by Faith Ringgold. . HarperCollins, $15.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-06-000649-5

This suspenseful folk story, collected by Hurston (1861–1960) and adapted by Thomas (The Six Fools ), finds three crones (with teeth "far longer than their lips") in pursuit of a brother and sister. After the children's grandmother leaves their woodland cabin for provisions, the sister says, "I smell witches." "Good ones or bad ones?" her brother asks. "Bad," she answers. The red, green and purple hags—depicted in Ringgold's (Tar Beach ) homespun painting style—chase the siblings up a tree and commence to chop it down; while the girl repeats a conjuring spell, the boy calls for their three hound dogs and grandmother slowly wends her way home. Simultaneously nerve-wracking and comic, this joins the crop of African-American scary tales like Hamilton and Moser's Wee Winnie Witch's Skinny . Ages 6-10. (Aug.)