Season of the Witch is a lively and well-rounded account of the role of magic in different cultures throughout history, from Ancient Mesopotamia to the present day. Narrative retellings of myths and folktales feature alongside historical and anthropological information, together with an exploration of superstition and belief.
From the Egyptian Book of the Dead and Baba Yaga via Japanese Hannya masks and Vodou to Gerald Gardner, founder of modern-day Wicca, the content is diverse, engaging and considered.
Tamarit’s illustrations have a ‘groovy Seventies’ aesthetic that will appeal to teens as well as older primary-age children, and Ralphs’ text is well-pitched for his target audience.
Magical beliefs are discussed throughout in a non-fiction context. Occasionally the boundary between reality and fiction becomes a little blurred, and some families may be uncomfortable with this aspect of the book. But for many readers, Ralphs’ lively and respectful approach to a complex subject will be welcomed. As he points out, “fewer people believe in magic these days” but it “still has a powerful hold on our imaginations.”
Season of the Witch is particularly recommended at Halloween (to provide depth, breadth and context) but will fascinate young readers all year round.