Review: Witches! by Rosalyn Schanzer
Witches! The Absolutely True Tale of Disaster in Salem
By Rosalyn Schanzer
Published by National Geographic Children’s Books on September 13, 2011
In the little colonial town of Salem Village, Massachusetts, two girls began to twitch, mumble, and contort their bodies into strange shapes. The doctor tried every remedy, but nothing cured the young Puritans. He grimly announced the dire diagnosis: the girls were bewitched! And then the accusations began.
The riveting, true story of the victims, accused witches, crooked officials, and mass hysteria that turned a mysterious illness affecting two children into a witch hunt that took over a dozen people’s lives and ruined hundreds more unfolds in chilling detail in this young adult book by award-winning author and illustrator Rosalyn Schanzer.
With a powerful narrative, chilling primary source accounts, a design evoking the period, and stylized black-white-and-red scratchboard illustrations of young girls having wild fits in the courtroom, witches flying overhead, and the Devil and his servants terrorizing the Puritans, this book will rivet young readers with novelistic power.
Taught in middle and high schools around the U.S., the 17th-century saga remains hauntingly resonant as people struggle even today with the urgent need to find someone to blame for their misfortunes.
I picked this up while at the BEA and I have to say for a kid’s book this is pretty informative. I didn’t learn much that I didn’t already know having been interested in it as a child when we covered it in school. However, I think had I read this book then, I would’ve found it very enjoyable. It had some great details, but it flowed without getting to heavy on the dates of events. (One of the things I was always bad with when it came to history.)
If your child is looking for a good book on the Salem witch trials, I would suggest this once it is finished. The drawings that were included in this preview copy went along well with the text and I think once it is complete it will be a very nice finished book. If you don’t know anything about the trials, this is a good book to start with as it will give you a lot of detail on the main people (adults and children) who were involved.