- Holidays and Celebrations
Dorrie And The Blue Witch - A Halloween Magical Memory
Once upon a childhood, you will sometimes find a book that sparks the imagination. Growing up pre-Harry Potter, mine was Dorrie And The Blue Witch by Patricia Coombs.
My mom found the Dorrie book at a library used book sale and brought it home to give to us kids, thinking that it would be a fun Halloween read. It was...and more. I would sneak it into bed every night to read and pour over the wonderful illustrations. I can still picture Dorrie's elegant black cat Gink and the staircase winding ... winding ... winding to the top of the witch's house.
But what delighted me most was that Dorrie was smart. Witchy smart. She knew what to do when the mean Blue Witch kidnapped Dorrie and turned Cook into a cup of sugar. Dorrie was a witch's child and knew something about magic. Dorrie kept her cool and sprinkled shrinking powder on the bad witch. I used to giggle, thinking about how mad the Blue Witch would be while increasingly getting smaller and unable to work her magic. And I loved the conclusion when Dorrie won the golden cauldron for being the cleverest witch-catching witch. What an exciting story for a little girl with an active imagination.
Did I tell you that I LOVED the book? I think I subconsciously was encouraged to find my black cat, Molly, because of the hours of looking at Dorrie's elegant Gink.
We owned only the one Dorrie book and I didn't realize that there were more Dorrie books until I was an adult. Awwww. I felt that I had been cheated out of something special--like finishing only the first part of a triple-decker ice cream cone. I looked online to see if I could purchase them from Amazon. Hurray, I could!
The paperbacks were a reasonable price, while the hardcover books are almost what I would call a collectors' edition, with used books priced at $54.94. Oh, wait, the Dorrie book in pristine condition is a collectible, selling at $268.
Being a collectable does not necessarily equal having great worth, but in this case it does; each book teaches a lesson and plants seeds of creativity. The sweet magic that I felt coming from that used library book those many years ago was real and is valued for the ability to encourage little girls to be smart in difficult situations. Witchy smart.
NOTE: This review's author is Kristen Lawrence, a classically trained organist who loves Halloween and writes Halloween music which she calls her Halloween Carols. Her music is available from Amazon, iTunes, and CD Baby. She has a little black kitty that she named Molly Macabre the Halloween Cat -- who is an elegant constant companion, just like Gink.
Patricia Coombs (born in Los Angeles, California, July 23, 1926) is the author and illustrator of many children's picture books, including the popular Dorrie the Little Witch series.
The first children's story, "Dorrie's Magic" was published in 1962. It was inspired by and written for her two daughters, as were the following twenty-eight books. They were published in Great Britain, Germany and Japan. The final book in the series, "Dorrie and the Haunted Schoolhouse," was published in 1992.
Besides the three Dorrie book titles I have listed below that can be purchased at Amazon, click to see some illustrations and a list of other books in the Dorrie series by Patricia Coombs.
Every child wishes they could wave a magic wand and clean up their room. But what if you were a witch child and COULD do magic. Read how Dorrie learns a lesson about responsibility and using magic. ... "Abracadabra, skittery doo!" she said, pouring some blue stuff into a bowl. Dorrie had started the magic working and although everything was going wrong, she couldn't make it stop. Maybe if she poured a little more of everything into the magic brew...
Learn how negative comments can influence others with this delightful story. One day the Little Witch, Dorrie, who had a bad habit of meddling with her mother's magic, decided she would be good all day. But, as luck would have it, that was the very day Aunt Agra chose to come to visit. And though Dorrie tried and tried, she just couldn't please Aunt Agra with anything. "Look at her!" Aunt Agra said. "She hasn't touched her sandwich. She hasn't drunk her milk. And look at her face! She's been into your magic again. She's turning green!" But this time Dorrie hadn't meddled with the Big Witch's magic at all. This time Dorrie really felt sick. It was odd, though -- for the minute the genial old Witch Doctor arrived, she began to feel better. And after taking only two of the chocolate peppermints which he prescribed, Dorrie was almost entirely over her bad case of Auntitis. But most astonishing of all was the way the Witch Doctor cured Aunt Agra!
Witches have brooms. And brooms are meant to fly, right? ... It was Halloween, and Dorrie was ready for her first flying lesson, but her mother said, "You're too young to fly. Maybe next year." The Big Witch was busy fixing a princess costume for Dorrie to wear to the Halloween Pageant for the Great Sorceress. But flying had more appeal for Dorrie than being a princess and learning to curtsy. If no one else would teach her, she just might have to teach herself. Her awkward attempt to fly put her right at the center of a plot by some Halloween demons. From her first encounter with the demons to the moment when the Big Witch blew out the candle in Dorrie's bedside pumpkin, the little witch had one of the most exciting Halloweens ever.