Cover of The Witch Who Wasn't by Jane Yolen

Witch Who Wasn’t,The

Illustrated by Arnold Roth
Macmillan 1964
ISBN# Macmillan hardcover
ISBN# LC 64-20730 Macmillan paperback

A silly tale of a little witch named Isabel (not my mother, Isabelle who was never a witch) who cannot spell correctly. That is–her spells go all wonky. In the end she learns that being different makes the difference. Something kids still need to know! Roth’s quirky, pun-filled illustrations seemed ahead of their time.

Reprinted as a story in the Australian Home Journal, March 1965

Reprinted as a story in This Week Magazine, October 26, 1964

In the Canadian Impressions Textbook Series

Series either challenged or banned in Anacortes, Washington near Seattle, in four California districts, and Coeur d’Alene, in part because of this silly little story.

Both editions out of print.

What reviewers have said:

  • “A jewel of a Halloween story. . .With the exaggeration and whinmiscal details that tranbsform the fearsome into the funny, this would be a cracker-jack picture book at ANY season. . .”–Children’s Bookshelf
  • “There is plenty here to amuse.”–Christian Scinece Monitor
  • “A funny picture book, “scary” enough to be loved by six and seven-year olds.”–Publisher’s Weekly
  • “A funny story with uproarious drawings by Arnold Roth whose pictures are full of puns.Children will adore it. I’m tipping my pointy black hat to Jane Yolen for a bewitching spoof.”–Gene Shalit