Rummanah Aasi
  I was in fourth grade when my older brother suggested that I read Elizabeth George Speare's The Witch of Blackbird Pond. I clearly remember looking at the title and cover, briefly skimming the excerpt of the book, and then said, "No thanks". Looking back, I realized that I would probably not appreciate the book as I do now.

Description: In 1687 Kit Tyler moves from her luxurious place in Barbados after her grandfather dies to live with her aunt's Puritan household. Feeling out of place, she befriends an old woman who is called a witch by the community and suddenly finds herself standing trial for witchcraft.

Why it was banned/challenged: In 2003, The Witch of Blackbird Pond was challenged at a middle school in Cromwell, Connecticut on concern that it promotes witchcraft and violence. Source: Marshall University Library

Review: My fourth grade self would not have liked The Witch of Blackbird Pond. The pace of the book moves pretty slowly with a little bit of action towards the end of the book. The characters were not instantly likeable either. Pace and the likability of the characters were two important things that I looked for in a book as both a reluctant and avid reader. If I'm not interested, my attention goes elsewhere and I simply don't care what happens.
  The Witch of Blackbird Pond takes time to open up to the reader. At first I had to adjust the historical context of not only what was happening in 1687 America/New World, but also the mannerisms and speech of the characters. I liked Kit's impulsiveness and her refusal to conform her society's thoughts and ways. She was an independent mind and free spirit. It's no wonder why she would connect the outcast Hannah, who is thought to be a witch and practice witchcraft.
 Although there are rumors of witchcraft amongst the community members in the book, there is no element of fantasy in the entire book. Contrary to the challenger's fears, the book's central theme is to avoid jumping to conclusions, not being prejudice towards others who don't share the beliefs as yours, and to be frightened of the mob mentality that many had during that certain period in American history.  

Rating: 4 stars

Words of Caution: None. I think this title would be appropriate for Grades 6 and up.

If you like this book try: The Lottery by Shirley Jackson
1 Response
  1. Alison Says:

    Great review. I've always meant to read this book. I think I'd like it more now than I did as a kid.
    Alison Can Read


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