Thursday, August 20, 2009

Buy This Book

Are there books that are so key for you that you go back and re-read them over and over -- and find something new and profound every time that you do? (If so, list them in comments; I want to know!) For me, that list includes: The Secret Garden, The Word for World Is Forest, A Wrinkle in Time, and The Fifth Sacred Thing. To that, I'll now add, having had a chance to read it: The Last Wild Witch by Starhawk. It's that good. Go buy this book now for yourself, for every child you know, for your local library, local nature center, local school.

What's not to love about a book that tells the story of a perfectly-regimented town, upon the farthest edges of which "stood the last magic forest, and the forest was wild"? And, "In the very heart of the last magic forest lived the last wild Witch. . . . All day long she brewed herbs and leaves and berries in her big magic cauldron, making a healing brew that she fed to the birds and the animals and the insects and the fish in the streams whenever they felt a little low." I don't know about you, but when I find that recipe, I'm going to quit my job and buy a bit of land in the middle of the forest and brew that brew all day long and, once in a while, look up at the sky of green leaves and know, "Now, I'm a witch, doing a witch's work."

When the children from the perfect town sneak out at night and visit the last wild Witch,"'Have some soup,' she would say, and that is all that she would say." But after nourishing themselves with that soup, sometimes, the children would "stay[] out all night long, drinking the Witch's magic brew and dancing with the rabbits and the deer and the birds. And they weren't even tired n the morning." And you know and I know what it's like to drink that brew and what that dance is like when you've danced it with creatures on both sides of the veil.

And, honestly, how can you not adore a story that ends: "And sometimes at night, when the wind came out of the west, carrying wildness with it, everybody gathered to dance and sing all night long with the deer and the rabbits and the birds. And they weren't even tired in the morning.

So things were not so perfect in the no-longer perfect town.

But they were better.

The End."

Like the Fifth Sacred Thing, it's a practical story about how nonviolence can work, and nonviolent resistance is a great tool to provide to every child growing up in the 21st Century. The illustrations by WeMoon illustrator Lindy Kehoe are as magical as the text. I love this book; I can't wait to read it to G/Son.

Photo found here.


Lee said...

I just got this and it is truly a special book. It is going on my "when-I-have-grandchildren" shelf. Along those lines, have you read "Wild Child" by Monica Furlong? It is not a picture book but a book for older readers. I still read it myself. There are two others in the series, "Juniper" and "Coman" but the first is my favorite.

Hecate said...


Thank you; I haven't read that, but I'm adding it to my list!

Missouri Bird said...

And don't forgetthe book about Wendell and Cass...

Mama Kelly of 2 Witches Blog said...

Have it on my wish list already at amazon for my own "when I have grandchildren" pile. Which of course already includes A Wrinkle in Time and A Secret Garden.

BTW, not a Pagan Book but Eddie and Teddy was a favorite in our house. Maybe your grandson would enjoy it.

nanoboy said...

If I could recommend one young children's book, it would be "The Big Orange Splot" by Manus Pinkwater. Honestly, it continues to shape how I think about the world. It spoke to me about the diversity of humanity, and any time I think about human diversity, I think of that little illustrated children's book.