The Worst Witch

The Worst Witch

by Jill Murphy

Mildred Hubble is a trainee witch at Miss Cackle's Academy, and she's making an awful mess of it. She's always getting her spells wrong and she can't even ride a broomstick without crashing it. Will she ever make a real witch?

  • Series: The Worst Witch
  • Language: English
  • Category: Fantasy
  • Rating: 3.95
  • Pages: 107
  • Publish Date: November 25th 2004 by Puffin Bks
  • Isbn10: 0141319623
  • Isbn13: 9780141319629

What People Think about "The Worst Witch"

This is the perfect book for young reluctant readers. Theres a magic school, great friendship, antiheroes and a series of unfortunate events. I honestly dont have anything bad to say about it, except maybe that its rather short, but thats one of the elements that makes it appealing to reluctant readers.

There is Ethel, the teachers pet, Mildreds friends Maud and Enid, lots of fun spells and a Halloween festival in which Midred and her classmates have to put on a broomstick display, with predictably disastrous consequences This version of the book is larger than usual, with full colour illustrations.

It follows a girl given the title of the worst witch in the school by the headmistress Miss Cackle.

For me it was a book that I used to read just before falling asleep and I suspect that is what many children still to today - and with good reason.

I would have also really, really enjoyed it if it had been read to me when I was 5 and 6, helping to read it of course. Id love to read the rest of this series but only if I can find a way to borrow them. My thanks go to the Goodreads group A Thrilling Term at Goodreads: The Girls School-Story group; I found this book on their bookshelves.

Now while I must admit that as an adult reader (and as an older adult reader who has perused much classical literature for both pleasure and academics) Jill Murphy's The Worst Witch has generally and a bit frustratingly felt a bit lacking in details and description, and also often seems narratively and textually choppy and unfinished, I do still very much realise that for reluctant and recently independent younger readers who are not yet quite ready for the more intricately depicted and yes, also considerably darker and ominous worlds of Harry Potter, his friends and enemies, Mildred Hubble, Miss Cackle et al provide a suitable, engagingly entertaining and above all easily read, digested and understood romp and subsequent preparation for more involved and potentially increasingly dystopian fantasy novel models (two and a half stars, rounded up to a solid three stars, as I do enjoy and have appreciated young Mildred Hubble as a literary character, primarily due to the fact that she reminds me so much of myself at her age, and the troubles I experienced at school, not a witch academy of course, but simply Middle School, where being clumsy, being different, putting one's foot into one's mouth, having social connection issues all played a painful and annoyingly important role).

The chapters are all short (each can be read in about five to seven minutes) and while some of the vocabulary is a bit advanced (I wouldn't call this a beginning/easy reader), it's perfect for read-aloud (especially if you can muster a British accent, haha!) In this first book in the "Worst Witch" series, Mildred Hubble is in her first term at Miss Cackle's Academy. Although I think the story is cute and is definitely great for kids who might be interested in Harry Potter but aren't quite ready for that level of book yet, I personally wasn't too captivated by it.

Just from reading a couple of pages as a Kindle sample I can already see how much of HP (possibly) came from this: from the school for witches that sits amidst a forest, to the flying classes taught the first day of school, the black school uniforms, the pets that are allowed just because they are tradition (cats and owls), the witch/wizarding exam they have to take in the fifth year (OWLs for Harry Potter, Witch Certificate in this book), and so much more. And this book was written in 1974, keep that in mind (because sadly, a LOT of people accuse the author of ripping off JKR... I'm excited to read more 'classic' fantasy novels that influenced Harry Potter.

Mrs. Cackle is a static character who wishes she had an eighth of Dumbledore's charm. Dumbledore > Cackle The Worst Witch is a sweet delightful children's series from the 70's where delightful and artistic British girl Mildred Hubble finds herself at a magical academy for witches. She knows nothing about being a witch and is trying to find her life around Miss Cackle's Academy with the help of her new friends Maud Spellbody & Enid Nightshade. Major kudos to the casting director of the Netflix shows because the characters look exactly like illustrations in the book.

Jill Murphy is a London-born English children's author, best known for The Worst Witch series and the Large Family picture books. She is also well known for her picture books and was commended in the 1980 Kate Greenaway Medal for Peace at Last. Five Minute's Peace won the 1987 Parents Magazine Best Books for Babies Award, as well as being shortlisted for the 1986 Children's Book Award.