“The Very Different Witch” by Jill Danis

“The Very Different Witch” by Jill Danis 1000 1000 Reader Views Kids

The Very Different Witch

Jill Danis
Tellwell Talent (2022)
ISBN: 978-0228881995
Reviewed by Kassia Scotti for Reader Views (10/2023)

Jill Danis’ “The Very Different Witch” follows a young girl who struggles to fit in at school. Through embracing her differences and sharing them with her classmates, she realizes what makes her stand out is what makes her special.

This story is a wonderful metaphor for children who struggle to navigate the trials and tribulations of growing up in the eyes of their peers. There can be so much pressure put on children, in this case young girls, to hide their differences for fear of being mocked or not fitting in. Clara is relatable as a character, which made me feel a lot of sympathy for what she was going through. It made me so sad when Clara thought she’d made a breakthrough with her lovely pink skirt, and the kids began to make fun of her pointy chin. It felt realistic that Clara would have to try more than once to get her classmates to open their eyes.

Clara is such an established and compelling protagonist that gained my empathy right away. This made me wonder about her aunties! Their relationship and the way they supported Clara is so touching and gives useful insight into their effect on her upbringing. However, other than that, we never know her aunties by name or know them as individual characters. Of course, Clara is the main character of the story. Having the focus on her helps drive it forward, but the relationship between Clara and her aunties seems almost like the heart of the story. She learned to love her differences through their support, and that stood out to me. 

The incorporation of illustrations brought the book to life. The colors are vivid and comforting, as well as helpful in conveying the story’s message. We get to see Clara and the appearance that makes her who she is. It brings the descriptions to life in a way that makes Clara feel real, which makes her all the more relatable.

Reading this in October while Halloween is looming made for a very enjoyable seasonal experience. Beyond that, the message is relevant and important for children and young adults all year round. Even as an adult, the sentiment that you should not let yourself fade into the background because of your differences is something I still have to remind myself, and it’s very reassuring to me that children get to read a story that teaches them this at a young age.

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