Author: Jill Murphy
Number of Pages: 96
Published: August 5th, 2014
Miss Cackle’s Academy for Witches stood at the top of a high mountain surrounded by a pine forest."
It's Mildred Hubble's first year at Miss Cackle's Academy for Witches and trouble seems to find her wherever she goes. The Academy is getting ready for one of its annual traditions, providing each young witch with a new kitten to train. There's even going to be a special presentation, and Mildred is worried something will go horribly wrong, despite her having a way with animals. Yet the only thing that happens is she receives a tabby kitten instead of the standard black kitten like the rest of the girls. She does have some minor difficulty training her kitten to ride on a broomstick, but so does her friend Maud. Then Mildred gets into an argument with mean bossy Ethel and out of desperation for being put on the spot when Ethel says she can't perform a spell, Mildred turns her into a pig. Mildred receives a reprimand from Miss Hardbroom and Ethel promises to get even. Mildred is also put on notice that there better not be any further mishaps, especially with their annual Halloween celebration approaching. This year Millard's class has been selected to perform a broomstick formation routine and nothing can go wrong as they are representing the school in front of the witching community. Unfortuanently, that's exactly what happens when Mildred is forced to use Ethel's spare broomstick, the one that Ethel hexes. No one believes that it was actually Ethel's meddling with the broomstick that caused the crash and not Mildred's carelessness as usual. That evening, Mildred decides to run away, which is how she ends up overhearing a plot of a bunch of witches in the forest to turn all the witches at Miss Cackle's Academy to frogs. Mildred knows it is up to her to save the day.
I really enjoy Halloween with the changing of the leaves to more rust and yellows, it's a time for spooky stories with ghosts or witches. Anything that fits into the theme of Halloween. My first pick was The Worst Witch by Jill Murphy, this is a series of books that I remember hearing about, but not one that I read growing up. It was originally published in 1974. How did I miss this book? I'm sure that I would've enjoyed reading about a witch going to a witches school, learning potions, riding a broomstick and especially getting a kitten. I also wasn't really into scary stories back then so this would've been perfect. It was a fun early chapter book, not overly complicated with its plot, not creepy in the least, and there are lovely black and white illustrations. Mildred was adorable with her fear of the dark, propensity to mishaps and I especially liked her kitten. Although I was looking for something a bit longer, The Worst Witch would be lovely for a younger child who is just getting into wanting a Halloween story that isn't scary.