Witch Hazel

by Molly Idle (Author)

Witch Hazel
Reading Level: 2nd − 3rd Grade

Transform dust into magical memories in this moving intergenerational tale that celebrates stories and the time we have together.

Something magical happens when Hazel and Hilda are together. As the seasons pass, Hazel's broom whisks the dust off many years of joyful memories, and young Hilda watches them come to life. But is it magic making memories...or are memories making magic?

This poignant tale and artistic tour de force from Caldecott Honoree Molly Idle gently explores the passage of time and the transcendent power of sharing our stories.

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Kirkus Reviews

Both characters have skin the color of the sepia pages.


Once again, Caldecott Honoree Idle (Flora and the Flamingo, 2013) captivates, infusing realism with fairy tale.

Horn Book Magazine

A bewitching examination of the abiding power of memories and story.

Publishers Weekly

Working in expressive white and graphite lines on warm brown paper, Caldecott Honoree Idle draws Hazel, an elderly woman in a cape and a pointed hat, and Hilda, a girl clad in overalls, throughout the seasons. As Hazel and Hilda sweep the front porch one spring day--the paper background provides the characters' skin tone--Hazel shares a remembrance of herself as a girl. Using swooping, balletic curves, Idle renders Hazel's memories via lively, misty white images that unfold in and around the present-day duo: a young Hazel practices flying on her swing, a copy of Peter Pan in her hand. In the summer, Hazel, now shown in memory as a young woman, frees a songbird: "I loved him too much to keep him in a cage." And in the fall, a more adult Hazel in a splendid ball gown and live boa swirls and twirls. By winter, though, Hazel has taken to her bed, and soon becomes a solace-offering memory herself. The story's fantasy elements add little more than aesthetic to this tale of intergenerational love, but its attention to memory and loss tenderly shows how the capacity to tell stories is passed on. Ages 4-8. Agent: Steven Malk, Writers House. (Oct.)

Copyright 2022 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.

Review quotes

Molly Idle
Molly Idle is the award-winning creator of many books, including the mermaid tales Pearl and Coral. Molly's work as an author-illustrator also includes the Tea Rex series and the Caldecott Honor Book Flora and the Flamingo. Molly lives in Arizona with her family and invites you to visit her at idleillustration.com.
Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication date
October 11, 2022
BISAC categories
JUV039060 - Juvenile Fiction | Social Themes | Friendship
JUV039050 - Juvenile Fiction | Social Themes | Emotions & Feelings
JUV013030 - Juvenile Fiction | Family | Multigenerational
JUV037000 - Juvenile Fiction | Fantasy & Magic
Library of Congress categories
Picture books
Grandparent and child

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