The Worst Witch To The Rescue – Jill Murphy (When What You Need Is A Childhood Read Retreat)

You could be inclined to think that this post is a belated April Fools but its not, and I am sure some literary aficionados might judge this post and that’s fine too. True, I don’t normally review childrens books, I leave that to the likes of my kind volunteers The Bookboy and The Girl Who Reads Too Much. Yet while I have been having ups and downs on the health front of late and been somewhat of an invalid I have wanted certain comforts and that includes childhood ones. In fact whilst reading ‘The Worst Witch To The Rescue’ by Jill Murphy I was eating vanilla custard slices so I really was going back to my ten year old self. ‘The Worst Witch’ series was one of my absolute favourite series as a child and so when I saw that the latest one, as Jill Murphy has brought the wonderful Mildred Hubble back a few times since the first book in the 1970’s and second and third in the 1980’s, in the library I simply had to pick it up. It proved to be the perfect comfort read and as the series was such a huge part of me becoming a reader I wanted to report back on it as it had me spellbound yet again.

Mildred Hubble, to whom the title ‘worst witch’ refers to, is as the title suggests a fairly dreadful witch. Though when you say dreadful we aren’t referring to evil, she is just a bit hopeless. In fact her least favourite teacher Miss Hardbroom often refers to her as a ‘trouble magnet’. In this, the sixth and latest, instalment of the series ‘The Worst Witch To The Rescue’ the first day of a new term at Miss Cackles Academy for Witches all seems to be going unusually well for Mildred Hubble. Firstly she has managed to come up with a surprise summer project which is sure to impress Miss Hardbroom, who she knows is her sternest critic, she shows an incredible natural aptitude at a new subject and even her worst enemy Ethel Hallow seems to be being nice. Of course though this is the world of Mildred Hubble and nothing can stay that good for long can it?

I can’t really say any more than that on the book as I wouldn’t want to ruin how it goes wrong for Mildred in case you decide to throw caution to the wind and get this yourself, which of course you should do. It was wonderful to be reunited with Mildred along with her friends Maud and Enid, plus her faithful feline Tabby and indeed the scary Miss Hardbroom and evil Ethel. It had me feeling like I did when I was much younger and wishing I too was a student at Miss Cackles Academy (the fact I wouldn’t have been able to be a witch didn’t concern me and hey its fiction anything is possible) and could join in with these gentle and enjoyable adventures. I also love the pictures, they evoke a love for the series and reading that I had as a kid.

To say that I enjoyed this book would be a complete understatement. It’s very unusual that a book series you loved in your childhood is still going, there was a gap of a decade between book three and four and again between book four and five when Jill Murphy was looking after her relatives with dementia. I am hoping that there are plans for some more outings of Mildred Hubble as to spend an hour and a half (a real little one read reading treat) in her company is just the thing. 8/10

I took this book out from the local library.

If I had been on the BBC’s ‘My Life in Books’ (or indeed the wonderful series that Simon of Stuck in a Book is doing which I loved reading) then I think it would be highly likely that I would choose The Worst Witch as my childhood book, even over Roald Dahl surprisingly. Of course this post isn’t just about how much I loved the latest Worst Witch tale; it’s about the feelings that turning to your favourite children’s books can evoke. Its also been nice reading some of this book to my littlest cousins. Have any of you read The Worst Witch series? Do you have a series that does this to you too and if so which one is it, is it still going, do you turn to it often?


Filed under Jill Murphy, Puffin Books, Review

15 responses to “The Worst Witch To The Rescue – Jill Murphy (When What You Need Is A Childhood Read Retreat)

  1. I wanted to join Miss Cackles’ Academy too! I also really liked the TV series. But I have to say that Roald Dahl’s The Twits is probably one of my favourite childhood books.

    • Oh I have the film which I am going to have to dig out and watch again. I don’t know why I didn’t straight away. I still wish I could join the academy, though I would have to be a teacher now wouldnt I being so much older now 😦

  2. Louise

    I still have my original Worst Witch books, and all of my Roald Dahl books,i still read them now,and it always makes me smile and brings back memories of happy times. I have my original Faraway Tree books,which i adore! I really wish the pc brigade would leave certain things alone! I re read The Wishing Chair a few weeks ago 🙂

  3. Jo

    I loved The Worst Witch – now I want to read these again as well. I am currently working my way through some Enid Blyton and Roald Dahl. It all brings back such great memories.

  4. Kate

    I am currently re-reading Pippi Longstocking with my 11 year old daughter and we are both laughing at Pippi. She was my absolute favourite as a child and I can still see why!

    All best wishes for a speedy recovery Simon – I do enjoy your blog.

    I’m also laughing as I see this type is courier new!!

    • I never read Pippi, I am not sure if it was big when I was a kid, I think I was a little bit after or before it.

      Oh dont you start on the courier new type lol 😉

  5. With so many bloggers revisiting their childhood books, I am really tempted to do the same. The only thing holding me back is that I don’t want to tarnish my memories of the books in case I find them less than enchanting now. However, I have dipped into Nicholas by Sempe, which I read in French class, and simply looking at the comical illustrations lightens my heart.
    I’ve never read the Worst Witch series but it does sound like a gem and it must be quite wonderful to be able to read a new instalment after all these years.

    • I think something must have been in the air at the time and maybe it was some time for some comfort reading or nostalgia??

      It is very delightful, and slightly weird, reading a new installment of my favourite childhood series so many years later but every time (as this happened a few years ago too, and I hope it happens again) Jill Murphy does them justice.

  6. I loved these books as well Simon, I desperatley wanted to be a part of Midlred’s world! Didn’t they make a TV series out of it as well? don’t think it was quite as good as the books. My favourite childhood books were the ‘My best fiend’ range by Sheila Lavelle. I recently ordered one from Amazon and it brought back so many fond memories reading them. Childhood books are a perfect way to travel back in time x

    • They were great werent they Lou, I loved them too so so so so much, so its been nice to rejoin them. I could start the whole series again and read them on repeat I think.

  7. Pingback: Bargain Blowout « The Book Jotter

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