P.Crumble (text) Lucinda Gifford (illus) The Witch’s Britches, Scholastic, 1 September 2015, 24pp., $14.99 (pbk) ISBN 978 1 76015 1539
The premise of this story is that we have mistakenly believed that the magic power of witches comes from their wand whereas the truth is it comes from their britches. When young Ethel attends witch school she is given her magic britches with a warning that they will not work unless kept clean. One day they are blown off the clothes line and into the local park where they create havoc by making people’s wishes come true. The park is soon filled with wild and bizarre scenes such as unicorns and marshmallow mountains. Ethel rushes to save the day rounding up her escaped britches and thereafter dries them indoors.
This is a fun filled picture book that will have readers in the three plus age group laughing at what they may still consider slightly naughty references to undies, britches and knickers. The brightly coloured pantaloon style magic britches add to the visual humour of the computer generated illustrations. Lucinda Gifford has used multi-panel illustrations and double page spreads to good effect and the primary colours give energy and life to every opening. The rhyming text is enhanced with changes in font and use of bold type to give emphasis to key words which will assist the young reader when reading alone or in unison with an adult.
The Witch’s Britches is an entertaining frolic where author and illustrator have combined to produce an enjoyable text full of visual and written humour.
Reviewed by John Nolan