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The Little Green Witch

Last updated Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Author: Barbara Barbieri McGrath
Illustrator: Martha G. Alexander
Date of Publication: 2005
ISBN: 1580890423
Grade Level: 2nd    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: Sep. 2009

Synopsis: Halloween's answer to "The Little Red Hen." While her hollow-tree housemates (a ghost, a bat, and a gremlin) laze around, the little witch does all the unhousework–hanging the cobwebs, dirtying the laundry, etc. When she finds some pumpkin seeds and plants them, she discovers that her friends are stubbornly unhelpful at every stage. While the little green witch's question is always, "Who will help me…," the answers are divertingly varied: "Can't hear you," said the bat. "Water, schmater," grouched the gremlin. As readers will expect, when the witch takes her pumpkin pie out of the oven, everyone is willing to help her eat it. Equally predictable is her refusal to share it. But she has an extra comeuppance up her ragged sleeve, one that will make readers laugh out loud. McGrath has done a fine job of meeting expectations while introducing surprises at every turn. Her gentle humor is amplified by Alexander's sweet and funny watercolor-pastel illustrations. Details like a Mickey Mouse cup on the shelf, a wood crate labeled Apples, and a cookie jar shaped like a little red hen can be discovered in successive readings. Children will enjoy this book before, during, and after Halloween. From School Library Journal

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  What is a witch? Where do witches live? What do witches do?
•  What are some ways you can help others? Do you like to help others? Why or why not.

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  What kind of unhousework does the witch do?
•  What does the witch do with the pumpkin seeds?
•  Will the witch’s housemates help her with anything?
•  Will the witch turn her housemates back to their original form?
•  Do you think her housemates will help her out the next time she asks?

Craft ideas:
•  Create a recipe sheet for pumpkin pie (the witch’s version or what ingredients you would use).
•  Draw your favorite scene from the book and write a sentence about it.

*Note: These craft ideas are just suggestions. You can use them, but you don’t have to use them. You can expand upon them, or add your own twist. Remember, though, that the focus of your time should not be on the development and execution of a craft; the focus should be on the read-aloud and the enjoyment of the book!