Earwig and the Witch
by Diana Wynne Jones, Illustrated by Paul O. Zelinsky
Greenwillow, Harper, February 2012
Earwig loves living at St. Morwald's Home for Children because everyone there does exactly what she wants, even her best friend Custard. So why would she ever want to be adopted and leave? Luckily, Earwig is able to deflect any attempts at adoption- that is until a strange couple comes one visiting day and adopts her. Something must be up. Sure enough, the woman is a witch and the man, well, he has horns and demons do his bidding. Most importantly, they don't do what Earwig wants them to. Well, that's fine with her. Magic can't be too difficult to learn, can it?
Earwig and the Witch has all the staples of a good fantasy- magic, orphans, & a plucky young heroine- but Jones has made something completely new and earwig does not feel just like that girl we've read about a thousand times. Zelinsky's energetic ink illustrations bring the story to life and will help keep the attention of young readers who still need visuals during storytime. Though the story ties up a bit abruptly, this is a much-needed fantasy for the Clementine crowd.