Witch Hazel

Little, Brown. Oct. 2022. 40p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780316541138.
Gr 1-3–In this gentle tale, a young girl named Hilda works alongside the much older Witch Hazel. Each season brings a new set of chores—sweeping in spring and dusting in summer and fall—and as they work, Hazel reflects on both the time of year and times gone by. She remembers being a playful girl and later a beautiful young woman. The color palette is simple with a light brown background throughout, graphite drawings of the present-day characters, and swirling, ghostly white figures to represent the past. By winter, Hazel has taken to her bed, and Hilda alone is in charge of tidying the house, as well as stepping into the role of storyteller. The ending is somber, though not heavy-handed. Readers will take comfort in the fact that Hazel’s spirit will live on through Hilda, the new keeper of memories.
VERDICT A reassuring tale about the power of memory and storytelling to provide comfort for grieving children and a simple life cycle story for a more general readership.

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