cover image Rosemary's Witch

Rosemary's Witch

Ann Warren Turner. HarperCollins Publishers, $14.95 (164pp) ISBN 978-0-06-026127-6

The Morgenthaus seem content with their new house, but nine-year-old Rosemary feels a chill. Then she discovers that the house is haunted by the spirit of a girl named Mathilda. Neglected and never loved, Mathilda's hurt and anger has somehow denatured her; at age 150, she is a heinous witch. Rosemary explores this mystery and appeases Mathilda with presents, including her own beloved teddy bear. Certain elements linger unpleasantly--in particular, the message that a girl's rightful pain and rage will turn her into an evil witch is coercive and sexist. Additionally, readers may feel cheated when Rosemary's sacrifice of her teddy bear is erased after the witch inexplicably returns the gift. The book's spooky atmosphere, however, compensates for a somewhat opaque and slow-moving style. Ages 11-up. (Apr.)