Not Just a Witch is a fantastic fantasy style magical novel for children aged between 7 and 14. The book was first published in 1989 and is written Eva Ibbotson. The story itself is 151 pages in length but is split into manageable chapters, which make it easy to digest. Despite being written for children the book has a real flare and style that seems to intrigue everyone that picks it up and the magical and mystical content of the book mean that it is difficult for anyone to pull themselves away from it.
Not Just a Witch tells the story of Heckie who simply isn't an ordinary witch. Heckie is a good witch and every bone in her body wants to make the world a better place. So when a young boy named Basil starts screaming uncontrollably for his two child babysitters something very strange happens. After placing the child in his bedroom Daniel, the babysitter, runs to warm his bottle but when he returns he is greeted not by the sound of screaming but by the sound of snoring and when he opens the bedroom door finds a wrinkled looking bulldog rather than a baby. Maybe you've guessed it, Heckie's way of making the world a better place was to turn all unpleasant people into animals.
Heckie however is very surprised when after the event she sees Daniel running past her house. Inviting him in she expects him to thank her for swapping Basil but instead Daniel demands she gives Basil back believing she has kidnapped him. Oh dear! And to her surprise Basil's parents want him back too. Could things get any worse for Heckie? You guessed it... the answer is yes. Her plans to set the world to rights are near enough derailed when she falls under the spell of charming Mr Knapsack and all her good work is nearly undone.
Not Just a Witch is another extremely pleasant read by Eva Ibbotson who has such a talent for writing fantasy stories that she makes you believe that the world you are reading about is real. In my opinion the book is very clever as it tells the story of a good witch and therefore proposes the idea that it doesn't matter what you are supposed to be and what everyone else says you should be, because it is you yourself that ultimately has the final choice and it is you that must make whatever decision you feel is right for you.
Ibbotson's magnificent writing style really encapsulates everything weird and wonderful about the places and people she describes. Her description is full of detail and therefore is very vivid and full of excitement. In this way she shows with ease her lavishly creative mind and therefore invites all those that read the book to open their imaginations to new possibilities and so let the book take on a life of its own in the readers mind.
To be perfectly honest I cannot really pick fault with this book because for its genre I really think it is one of the best. I was plunged deep into the story and the world surrounding it from the moment I picked up the book and I think that when a children's book can do this to an eighteen year old then it is definitely a big plus.
This book can be purchased in most good book shops and online and retails around the £5 mark, which I think is excellent value.