cover image Witch Hunt: It Happened in Salem Village

Witch Hunt: It Happened in Salem Village

Stephen Krensky. Random House Books for Young Readers, $3.99 (48pp) ISBN 978-0-394-81923-5

For perceptive as well as proficient readers, this book recounts the bizarre story of the hysteria in late 17th-century Salem that resulted in witch trials and executions. The Puritan lifestyle and religious ethos are clearly and simply described, providing a background and showing why ``fear and hate ruled over common sense.'' Within that context, the behavior of young female accusers, magistrates and villagers becomes more comprehensible. The illustrations are only adequate, and contribute little to the compelling information. But this glimpse of American history should leave readers eager for more. Ages 7-9. (May)