Sunday, April 1, 2018

Bedknob and Broomstick

Written by: Mary Norton

First line: Once upon a time there were three children, and their names were Carey, Charles, and Paul.

Why you should read this book: A beloved classic book (actually two novels combined into one volume), upon which a beloved classic film was based, inspired by which a new film is currently being made, this is the story of three properly British children who meet a properly British witch-in-training who offers them the gift of a magic flying bedknob in exchange for their silence about her rather un-British activities. Like most children in beloved British books about magic written in the first part of the twentieth century, these kids have no clue how to best employ magic and manage to muck up every adventure with a basic lack of imagination and common sense, although the dithering witch herself must take some of the blame. Then the witch takes the bed back so she can go live in the past with an ineffectual necromancer, thus eliminating magic, and any hope for a trilogy, from the children's lives.

Why you shouldn't read this book: The casual racism of the British colonialist mindset is pretty off-putting and not really recommended for young readers who might not be aware of the strange history and assumptions surrounding the idea that all non-white people you meet on your travels must be savage, primitive cannibals.

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