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The Widow's Broom

by Chris van Allsburg

Published by Houghton Mifflin, 1992
32 pages
ISBN: 0395640512
price: $17.95

6-11

When a witch's broom loses its power mid-flight and falls, rider and all, into Widow Shaw's vegetable patch, the kindly widow swallows her own fear and takes the wounded witch into her farmhouse. The witch leaves as soon as she has healed herself, just as Widow Shaw expected, but leaves the useless broom behind. The broom soon proves itself to be far from useless -- it feeds the chickens, chops wood, fetches water and, of course, never tires of sweeping. It, in fact, becomes something of a local celebrity until some of the townspeople feel that the broom is evil and demand that it be destroyed. This haunting tale appears to take place about two hundred years ago, although the theme of intolerance is especially pertinent to the late 20th century. Van Allsburg's gritty, soft-edged black-and-white illustrations continually shift perspectives and perfectly capture contrasting responses to the unexpected -- delight and fear. Meticulous attention to detail is evident on every page, right down to the physical shape of the book, tall and slender like a broom. Winner, 1992 CCBC Caldecott Award Discussion. CCBC categories: Picture Books.  © Cooperative Children's Book Center


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