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Winnie Flies Again - Valerie Thomas

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5 Reviews

Genre: Junior Books / Author: Valerie Thomas, Korky Paul / Paperback / Reading Level: Ages 4-8 / 32 Pages / Book is published 2000-03 by Kane/Miller Book Publishers

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    5 Reviews
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      30.09.2011 07:59
      Very helpful



      A fab book

      Some of you may be aware from some of my previous reviews that my son owns a collection of Winnie the witch book which I am working my way through reviewing. The book I am reviewing today is called Winnie flies again.

      Winnie flies again is written by Valerie Thomas and Korky Paul. It is published by Oxford University Press and was first published in 1999 but has been reprinted on various occasions since then. The book has a recommended retail price of £5.99 but I actually bought it for my son in a set of ten books presented in a canvas bag for just £9.99 from the book people which is clearly wonderful value and something I would recommend doing.

      Winnie flies again tells the story of how Winnie just loves to fly her broomstick places but she begins to feel that the sky is becoming a bit too crowded as she has run ins with a helicopter and a hand glider. She decides there is no alternative but to use magic to change her broomstick in to alternative methods of transport such as a bicycle, skateboard and even a horse but even on those things Winnie has accidents. After falling down a hole whilst walking Winnie walks in to a shop and orders food and a drink but it isn't actually a café she has walked in to! Winnie has stumbled in to an opticians and they sort her out with some glasses meaning that she can see well again and can fly her broomstick without any accidents!

      My son really enjoys to read this book and his favourite parts are certainly when all of the accidents are occurring as this is done in an amusing way. Winnie does things such as land in a tree or crash in to an ice cream van but my son is mostly amused by the things that happen to Wilbur the cat along the way as he always seems to come off worse!

      The humour of the events in the story is portrayed excellently in the book and as always the expressions on Wilbur's face really make me giggle. As with all of the other Winnie the witch books I have read with my son the illustrations are my favourite part. They fill the whole page and are just so detailed that there are lots of things for us to look at. My son and I usually look for little extras as we go along and in this book there are things like birds nesting in the wings of an aeroplane for example. It is fun to see what we can spot and to point these things out to each other as we go along and I think it adds an extra element of enjoyment to the experience.

      The text is quite easy for my son to read himself and he is six. He is an able reader but regardless of this fact sometimes he still likes to be read to and I enjoy this fact as I think it does generate a feeling of closeness as you snuggle up to read a book. My son always likes to join in with the parts where Winnie casts a spell and says "abracadabra" which she does quite frequently in this book.

      I really cannot fault this book in any way. My son is amused by the story and the illustrations are excellent. We enjoy reading it together but my son also likes to read it independently and so I would say this book is perfect for children aged three to seven years.

      Thank you for reading my review!


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        12.11.2009 19:10
        Very helpful



        Yet another great Winnie the Witch story

        As I have mentioned in previous reviews both my daughters are big fans of the Winnie the Witch picture books written by Valerie Thomas and illustrated by Korky Paul. They seem to love the quirky storylines and the wonderful illustrations that always have them giggling as we are reading. Winnie Flies again is written in exactly this style, and like all the other books about Winnie, it does not disappoint.

        At the start of the story, Winnie is extolling the virtues of travelling by broomstick as there are no traffic lights or traffic jams - just an empty sky! At least that was how it used to be but just recently she has been encountering a few problems such as colliding with tall buildings, and having near misses with hang gliders and helicopters! The result of all this is that Winnie declares that the sky has become too busy and that she must find another way of travelling! The easiest way for Winnie to do this (because she is a witch!) is to wave her wand, shout ABRACADABRA and turn her broomstick into something else.

        The problem is that everything that it turns into does not suit her quite as well as her broomstick did. It turned into a broomstick that was slow and hard to pedal; then it was a skateboard that was impossible to steer; and when she was on a horse she didn't notice a tree and consequently fell off! Even as Winnie limps home she falls down a hole that she fails to see! All in all things don't look good for Winnie. That is until she decides to go for a cup of tea but unwittingly goes into the opticians instead. From then on the solution to Winnie's air travel problem is solved - and as it turns out - it had nothing to do with too much traffic in the sky but more about Winnie's ability to actually see it!

        This is a great funny story contained within just a few very attractive pages. There is not too much text on any of the pages and in the main the pages are taken up with the wonderful Korky Paul illustrations. His characters tend to be quite spindly with pointed features and disproportionately thin arms and legs. They also have quite a wierd and wonderful dress sense which is always the case for Winnie especially with her multi-coloured striped tights, eccentric clothes and long dark wiry hair! My daughters always love the look of Winnie. The other features of the illustrations that we like are their busy feel and their attention to detail. There is always so much to absorb from each of the illustrations. Korky Paul also likes to slip in characters from some of the other books he has illustrated and if you know these, they are very easy to spot. In this book we meet again Captain Teachum from 'Captain Teachum's Buried Treasure' and also Professor Puffendorf from 'Professor Puffendorf's Magic Potions'. My daughters really love the fact that he mixes up the characters with those from the other stories!

        The language is nicely accessible for young children and also very manageable for beginner readers. Also, there is a bit of repetition in the story which means that younger children will soon be able to join in with telling the story. Also, every time there is a magic spell, the word ABRACADABRA appears in big jagged capital letters. My younger daughter, who is not yet really a reader, loves spotting these words and being able to join in with them in a very loud voice!

        Winnie Flies again is funny and entertaining with a very satisfying storyline. We would have to rate it as highly as we do all of the other Winnie the Witch stories in our collection and it is now another firm favourite!

        This book is published by Oxford University Press and has a RRP of £5.99 although you can probably shop around and find it for less than that!


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          25.05.2009 16:49
          Very helpful



          a hugely funny book that will appeal to all ages

          Winnie the Witch flies everywhere by broomstick but she keeps having near misses with all kinds of (fantastically drawn) flying machines, not to mention a nasty encounter with a tall building.
          So she tries a series of other modes of transport but each one ends in disaster until Winnie inadvertently discovers what the problem is & she & Wilbur the cat get back their love of flying.
          I believe this is the 2nd stunning story in the series, although they could be read in any order. This is on a more ambitious scale than the first book as Winnie takes to the big wide world.
          The illustrations by Korky Paul are really funny & full of insane energy that belies the painstaking care that must have gone into the mass of eccentric detail & breathtaking perspective. The story is great too, with a twist near the end that I didn't see coming.
          An uproariously funny book that bears many rereadings: perfect for young readers but with plenty of clever detail to appeal to older children reading alone & adults reading it aloud for the 99th time.


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          27.04.2008 14:57
          Very helpful



          An excellent children's book

          Having been spellbound by Valerie Thomas's original Winnie the Witch story, I was sure I would enjoy other books in the series just as much; the second one I read was Winnie Flies Again. Hoping that Winnie's beloved cat Wilbur would again feature prominently, and that Korky Paul would provide the illustrations, I was not disappointed on either score.

          It is no surprise to find that Winnie travels by broomstick, or that Wilbur accompanies her, sitting on her shoulder. Imagine the freedom, with no traffic lights to tie you down. However, at one time the skies were empty, but of course they eventually become chock full of helicopters, hot-air balloons, aeroplanes and rockets. One day Winnie has a nasty collision with a helicopter, and poor Wilbur loses two of his whiskers. Further accidents ensue: Wilbur's tail is bent by a hang glider, and then he loses a clump of fur as Winnie crashes into the turret of a very tall building. Winnie herself is left hanging from her broomstick by her legs, and she decides that action must be taken.

          When Winnie waves her wand, the broomstick is transformed into a bicycle. Pedalling proves to be hard work, and Winnie lands in a pond. She experiments with a skateboard and then a horse, but they both turn out to be equally hazardous. Winnie and Wilbur eventually decide to walk home, but even then Winnie falls down a hole. She decides that a cup of tea and a muffin are in order, not forgetting a saucer of milk for Wilbur of course. Neither of them get what they are after, but Winnie is in fact offered a solution to her problem. If you want to know what it is, you will have to read the book.

          The story is full of mishaps, and this has allowed Korky Paul to go to town with his illustrations. If you have never seen Winnie the Witch, you might be surprised by her attire. She has yellow and red striped tights on her spindly legs, ridiculously pointed blue shoes, and a pointed hat decorated with stripes, stars and moons rather than the usual plain black variety. Her nose is long, pointed and red. Splashes of bold colour stream across the page whenever she waves her wand. Many of the illustrations are double spreads, and we sees an aviator, an Indian and a pirate as well as bird's eye views with towering turrets.

          It all sounds so unfortunate, but there is plenty of humour here whilst our sympathy goes out to the characters, especially Wilbur, who has a pretty thin time of it. Children love the story as well as the riotous, colourful pictures that go alongside it. You cannot really go wrong reading aloud the Winnie the Witch series of books to children; it certainly doesn't have to be Hallowe'en. I would say that a suitable starting age is probably three, going up to five or six.

          This is an ideal book to read aloud, and possible a suitable one for a fairly confident young reader as well. There isn't a huge amount of text on each page, in fact sometimes there are as few as three lines on a double page. The pictures would probably do a lot to encourage a struggling reader to continue to the end of the story.

          If you know and love the Winnie the Witch stories, there is a six-in-one collection of them available at £14.99, or as little as £9.89 on Amazon. If you are yet to make the acquaintance of Winnie and Wilbur, this story is available for £4.49 on Amazon. I recommend it without the slightest hesitation.

          Winnie Flies Again
          by Korky Paul (illustrator) and Valerie Thomas (author)
          Oxford University Press
          Paperback, 32 pages
          ISBN 0192726463
          Price £5.99 (Amazon £4.49)


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            23.02.2006 09:49
            Very helpful



            Great story book with excellent illustrations

            Another book in the Winnie the Witch series… Winnie the Witch, this one, and Winnie in Winter - just as good as the others, and another of my favourites.

            **THE STORY**

            "Winnie the witch always travelled by broomstick.
            It was a wonderful way to travel"

            There they are, Winnie on her broomstick, with her faithful cat, Wilbur, on her shoulder. They like this mode of travel because there are no traffic jams just the empty sky. We can see the traffic jams beneath Winnie; nose to tail cars, just like my journey to work every day, I think I need a broomstick.

            However, there is no stopping progress and recently, the sky has become crowded with aeroplanes and helicopters, all manner of flying things, causing Wilbur to lose a couple of whiskers and Winnie to cling desperately to the side of a helicopter she had not seen. Winnie crashed into a hang glider and then crashed into a large building which "suddenly got in her way" In each of these accidents poor Wilbur is hurt and Winnie is left with her pride in tatters, but, surprisingly, not her trusty brromstick.

            Winnie decides that the sky is too dangerous and promises Wilbur that something would be done.


            What's going to happen?

            Winnie's broomstick is changed into a bicycle, but pedaling was too hard, so…


            Winnie tried several methods of travel but none of them was easier or better than flying on her broomstick. Even riding on the back of a horse which had seemed the most promising proved too hazardous when Winnie didn't see a low over hanging branch!

            As Winnie and Wilbur are slowly limping along the road, Winnie stumbled over a hole and fell deep down under the ground. Poor Winnie, she walks into a shop and meets a shop keeper holding cards of spectacles and a rather fabulous looking pirate. Her request for "a cup of tea and a muffin…And a saucer of milk for my cat" is met with the response that those are not sold in the shop, but the shop keeper thinks she can help Winnie.

            Winnie is sold a pair of spectacles.

            Problem solved! Now Winnie and Wilbur can travel everywhere on the broomstick and it's a wonderful way to travel.


            In typical Korky Paul style, these pictures are colourful and "busy" with lots and lots of detail for children to talk about.

            One of the things I like in this book is the endpapers which, as stated, are drawn by a child aged 7 ¼ , who is given credit for the fact. The pictures look like crayon on black or one of the wax drawings. This is a great starting point for children- ask them to draw their own Winnie the Witch, or indeed their own witch, with any name they see fit.

            Winnie's broomstick is a marvelous contraption. She rides it as she would a horse- there is her whip in her hand and her feet are in stirrups. She sits on a bicycle seat and there are lights on the front. Once again, an immediate talking point for children; ask them to design their own broomstick and compare with the broomstick in "Room on The Broom" by Julia Donaldson.

            Throughout the book, the expressions on the faces of the characters are very detailed and show exactly how they are feeling. We like to look at the faces of the people in the helicopter when Winnie crashes into it and look at the expression on the face of the man flying the hang glider- total shock. Then of course, there is the disgruntled Winnie when she falls off her broomstick or crashes into the building.

            The illustrations create a visual backdrop for the text and are either landscape or portrait but usually double page spread unless the illustrator wants to show events happening in quick succession and then there are a series of 3 pictures to the double page spread.


            Published by: Oxford University Press, 1999
            ISBN: 0-19-272348
            Price: Try www.amazon.co.uk for some good prices


            If you have the book and enjoyed the illustrations, have a look for these books…

            Winnie the Witch
            Call Me Sam
            The Cat That Scratched
            The Dog That Dug
            The Duck That Had No Luck
            The Wonky Donkey



            Has a lot of information on all of the books he has illustrated- I didn't know there were so many.
            Plus, if you are interested, there is information on the author.


            I have been reading this book to Primary school children since it was first published and now read it to little lady. If children have already been introduced to the antics of Winnie and Wilbur, then they are more than ready to "see what happens next".

            There is very little text to read so it never becomes tedious, but with the colourful and detailed illustrations, just flows along easily.

            There is a real comic aspect to the text and the pictures which children quickly pick up on and they delight in looking for new things in the pictures- there is always something new to find

            I would always read Winnie the Witch first, not necessarily because there is an order to the books (there isn't) but to introduce children to the style of story and to the main characters.

            It's a great book and always encourages lots of discussion. If you and your little ones enjoy it, try Winnie in Winter.

            If you are looking for books to interest and delight children, this is a great place to start.

            Thanks for reading.

            Daniela x


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          • Product Details

            Winnie the witch travels on a broomstick equipped with a bike seat, stirrups and ornate Victorian headlamps in this campy tale from a British team. She loves cruising at high altitudes, but, just lately, the sky had become rather crowded. After close calls with a helicopter and a brick tower, above a landscape of quaint English houses and labyrinthine roadways, Winnie sidelines her broom. Yet even on a bike or a horse, Winnie is accident-prone. She trips over her shoes' pointy toes and bends her sorcerer's tall hat, and her black cat, Wilbur, has a bandaged tail to show for it.

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