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The Pomegranate Witch

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Each year, local kids scheme to pick ripe pomegranates off a haunted tree and are thwarted by The Pomegranate Witch in a friendly challenge of wits. However, on Halloween, while the witch is away, a Kindly Lady has a surprise for every child. "Luscious rhymes and an atmospheric eeriness immerse readers in a neighborhood battle." —Publishers Weekly (starred review) Each year, local kids scheme to pick ripe pomegranates off a haunted tree and are thwarted by The Pomegranate Witch in a friendly challenge of wits. However, on Halloween, while the witch is away, a Kindly Lady has a surprise for every child. "Luscious rhymes and an atmospheric eeriness immerse readers in a neighborhood battle." —Publishers Weekly (starred review)


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Each year, local kids scheme to pick ripe pomegranates off a haunted tree and are thwarted by The Pomegranate Witch in a friendly challenge of wits. However, on Halloween, while the witch is away, a Kindly Lady has a surprise for every child. "Luscious rhymes and an atmospheric eeriness immerse readers in a neighborhood battle." —Publishers Weekly (starred review) Each year, local kids scheme to pick ripe pomegranates off a haunted tree and are thwarted by The Pomegranate Witch in a friendly challenge of wits. However, on Halloween, while the witch is away, a Kindly Lady has a surprise for every child. "Luscious rhymes and an atmospheric eeriness immerse readers in a neighborhood battle." —Publishers Weekly (starred review)

30 review for The Pomegranate Witch

  1. 5 out of 5

    Calista

    Oh, such a good find! I love the pictures of this gnarled old pomegranate tree. They are amazing. Each year the pomegranates get ripe around Halloween. It is jealously guarded by a witch and the whole story is told in a nice rhyme. A group of kids wage battle on this witch to try their best and get a pomegranate. This year, one kid was successful. There is a lot of creativity here in this story. The artwork is special - somewhere between Tim Burton and being very beautiful. It is told in good hum Oh, such a good find! I love the pictures of this gnarled old pomegranate tree. They are amazing. Each year the pomegranates get ripe around Halloween. It is jealously guarded by a witch and the whole story is told in a nice rhyme. A group of kids wage battle on this witch to try their best and get a pomegranate. This year, one kid was successful. There is a lot of creativity here in this story. The artwork is special - somewhere between Tim Burton and being very beautiful. It is told in good humor. The story does conclude on Halloween after all the pomegranates are picked. I suggest you give this cute story a read. It's a nice ending. The kids read this together so they're stars were the same. They gave this 3 stars. The niece is going to be a witch for Halloween and she couldn't get a good look at her so she didn't like that. Her 3 stars reflect that. The witch is in the shadows most of the time. The niece feels she will still look better at Halloween than the shadowed witch. I had to ask what she thought of the story and she liked that part.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Danielle

    Simultaneously original and familiar. I love the illustrations, especially the gaggle of kids. A perfect longer story for fall to celebrate small triumphs, memory, storytelling traditions and the good fun of play, and the possibility of all our dual identities on Halloween and anytime.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Lois Keller

    My kids were little when I first read them Denise Doyens Once Upon A Twice and I was thrilled to see she has a new picture book out! That "tail" has been one of our family classics, going from me reading it aloud to them reciting it on their own. Pomegranate Witch does not disappoint and will take its place on the shelf next to it among our favorite picture books. As an adult reader, you will enjoy reading it aloud over and over, discovering more secrets, and clues in the rhymes. It's a sophisti My kids were little when I first read them Denise Doyens Once Upon A Twice and I was thrilled to see she has a new picture book out! That "tail" has been one of our family classics, going from me reading it aloud to them reciting it on their own. Pomegranate Witch does not disappoint and will take its place on the shelf next to it among our favorite picture books. As an adult reader, you will enjoy reading it aloud over and over, discovering more secrets, and clues in the rhymes. It's a sophisticated book disguised as simple due to the gorgeous lines and colors by Eliza Wheeler's illustrations, but like the Pomegranite Witch herself its a complex story that's great fun to unravel.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Abigail

    The neighborhood children face off against the eponymous Pomegranate Witch in this delightful rhyming Halloween picture-book from author/illustrator team Denise Doyen and Eliza Wheeler. Wise to their ways, the experienced witch manages to mostly defend her fruit, despite multiple creative incursions on the children's part. One sneak thief manages to make off with a single pomegranate, but that's it. Until, that is, the Halloween night party thrown by the witch's sister, the Kindly Lady, during w The neighborhood children face off against the eponymous Pomegranate Witch in this delightful rhyming Halloween picture-book from author/illustrator team Denise Doyen and Eliza Wheeler. Wise to their ways, the experienced witch manages to mostly defend her fruit, despite multiple creative incursions on the children's part. One sneak thief manages to make off with a single pomegranate, but that's it. Until, that is, the Halloween night party thrown by the witch's sister, the Kindly Lady, during which each is given a precious piece of fruit of their own... The Pomegranate Witch is only the second picture-book from Doyen, following upon her 2009 Once Upon a Twice , but given my enjoyment of that earlier title, and my appreciation for Wheeler's artwork in other books, I picked it up with a great deal of anticipation. My fondness for witchy tales of all sorts probably also whetted my appetite. However that may be, what I discovered upon reading it was a cleverly inventive text, an engaging story, and charming illustrations. The rhyme scheme here works well, as do the made-up portmanteau words that Doyen employs, while the artwork capture both the fun of the 'Pomegranate War' and the spookiness of the Witch and her tree. This is a bit text-heavy for a picture-book, so I'd recommend it primarily to older children, who are looking for fun new witchy tales for Halloween.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Leslie Moon

    Lovely language delivered with engaging cadence and fun wordplay. The illustrations have both an eerie and nostalgic feeling; the gang of kids are wonderfully drawn. TEACHERS: great for teaching wordplay. And for discussions of false impressions, "judging a book by it's cover", local rumors/legends. The Pomegranate Witch is a wonderful poetic romp. Lots of excitement for young readers (the Pomegranate War debacles and small triumph will surely have them both laughing and gasping.) And the end of t Lovely language delivered with engaging cadence and fun wordplay. The illustrations have both an eerie and nostalgic feeling; the gang of kids are wonderfully drawn. TEACHERS: great for teaching wordplay. And for discussions of false impressions, "judging a book by it's cover", local rumors/legends. The Pomegranate Witch is a wonderful poetic romp. Lots of excitement for young readers (the Pomegranate War debacles and small triumph will surely have them both laughing and gasping.) And the end of the book -- will leave them guessing. (Doyen weaves in hints of double-identity, and also that the Witch herself is the source some rumors ... a happy participant in the kids' imaginative games.) Wonderful execution of a childhood story familiar to us all (the local "haunted house" etc.) This has the feeling of a classic.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Kyra Nay

    From the beautiful pomegranates adorning the endpapers, I loved the illustrations - the refined color palette, the perfect edge of spookiness, and the alluring round fruits, just out of reach. The rhyming language was rollicking and deliciously fun to read - "dirt ripplesnaked with roots" "still, lore and pinkies swore the dreadful rumours of her looks" and "the pomegranates danced away from clasping, grasping fingers." However, I found the twist jarring and the ending unearned. If the transition From the beautiful pomegranates adorning the endpapers, I loved the illustrations - the refined color palette, the perfect edge of spookiness, and the alluring round fruits, just out of reach. The rhyming language was rollicking and deliciously fun to read - "dirt ripplesnaked with roots" "still, lore and pinkies swore the dreadful rumours of her looks" and "the pomegranates danced away from clasping, grasping fingers." However, I found the twist jarring and the ending unearned. If the transition out of the Pomegranate War had a bit more finesse, I think it would have worked, but I had to go back and reread it 3 times to make sure I hadn't missed a spread.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Lesley

    Another gorgeous rhyming tale from Denise Doyen--I'm a huge fan of her first picture book, Once Upon a Twice and always keep several copies on hand to give as gifts. In The Pomegranate Witch, we get a an old-time tale about a group of plucky, imaginative kids who go to battle with the crafty and game Pomegranate Witch. Young people will love the action-packed story and Eliza Wheeler's beautiful illustrations. A great book for autumn, Halloween, and any time of year! Another gorgeous rhyming tale from Denise Doyen--I'm a huge fan of her first picture book, Once Upon a Twice and always keep several copies on hand to give as gifts. In The Pomegranate Witch, we get a an old-time tale about a group of plucky, imaginative kids who go to battle with the crafty and game Pomegranate Witch. Young people will love the action-packed story and Eliza Wheeler's beautiful illustrations. A great book for autumn, Halloween, and any time of year!

  8. 5 out of 5

    Stacy

    Just a few of my favorite parts of this book: "And when her raven screamed, 'Hey-yaw!' those kids would run in fear, But not before the Witch's broom had bristle - spanked a rear!", when the kids got sprayed with the hoses, and at the end when the "sneak thief" was shown as an adult with his little girl dressed as a witch. Precious! Just a few of my favorite parts of this book: "And when her raven screamed, 'Hey-yaw!' those kids would run in fear, But not before the Witch's broom had bristle - spanked a rear!", when the kids got sprayed with the hoses, and at the end when the "sneak thief" was shown as an adult with his little girl dressed as a witch. Precious!

  9. 5 out of 5

    Ruth

    This was fantastic. The rollicking rhythm of the words play nicely against the slightly eerie but always enchanting artwork. You can save this one for Halloween if you want, but it's a delight year round. This was fantastic. The rollicking rhythm of the words play nicely against the slightly eerie but always enchanting artwork. You can save this one for Halloween if you want, but it's a delight year round.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Dylan Teut

    What do witches dress up as on Halloween? This rhyming rollicking tale is sure to delight.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Shelley

    Loved it. Like a pomegranate such a delightful treat awaits inside this book. Nice to have a Halloween picture book that will work for older kids as well.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Josie Jones (Lutz)

    A short read to celebrate Summerween - delightful and sweet and fun. A great Halloween read!

  13. 4 out of 5

    Honore

    This is a wonderful Halloween book! The drawing and coloring are beautiful, but what really stands out for me is the writing. The cadence of the story is perfect. The whole text feels inspired by previous " creepy old house on the hill", but the turns of phrase and words are all the authors own. This is an excellent book to read out loud to someone. This is a wonderful Halloween book! The drawing and coloring are beautiful, but what really stands out for me is the writing. The cadence of the story is perfect. The whole text feels inspired by previous " creepy old house on the hill", but the turns of phrase and words are all the authors own. This is an excellent book to read out loud to someone.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Barbara

    Rendered in India ink with dip pens and watercolors, the illustrations in this book seem rather nostalgic while making readers feel as though they are right there alongside the characters as they do battle over a pomegranate tree. In rhyming verse the author tells the story of how the neighborhood children stumble upon a tree bearing the delicious fruits but must wage war with the witch who owns the tree. They put up a good fight, and so does she, but eventually one child snatches a pomegranate. Rendered in India ink with dip pens and watercolors, the illustrations in this book seem rather nostalgic while making readers feel as though they are right there alongside the characters as they do battle over a pomegranate tree. In rhyming verse the author tells the story of how the neighborhood children stumble upon a tree bearing the delicious fruits but must wage war with the witch who owns the tree. They put up a good fight, and so does she, but eventually one child snatches a pomegranate. Readers will be able to easily relate to the story's plot and the experience related within the book's pages and wonder if there really are two sisters, one friendly and willing to share her bounties with the youngsters on Halloween and one who guarding her tree fiercely, or if they just might be the same person. How many of us have made the same assumptions about houses or individuals about whom we know nothing and we somehow leap to the conclusion that they are witches who can enchant the trees around them and keep us at bay? There is a definite spooky aura to the text and illustrations, and the book leaves readers wondering about that Pomegranate Witch and/or the Kindly Lady. This one will prompt readers to go back through its pages a couple of times to see if they can see any differences in the two.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Alex Baugh

    I have wonderful memories of fall - of roller skating and eating pomegranates when we stopped for a rest, so I can totally understand why the kids in this small town would want to get some of the red juicy fruit from the legendary old pomegranate tree. The only problem is the tree is haunted by an old, mean witch. Then, five friends decide to storm the tree, but ,alas, their efforts are thwarted by the witch. Four kids retreated, but one snuck up to the tree, plucked off a juicy pomegranate, and I have wonderful memories of fall - of roller skating and eating pomegranates when we stopped for a rest, so I can totally understand why the kids in this small town would want to get some of the red juicy fruit from the legendary old pomegranate tree. The only problem is the tree is haunted by an old, mean witch. Then, five friends decide to storm the tree, but ,alas, their efforts are thwarted by the witch. Four kids retreated, but one snuck up to the tree, plucked off a juicy pomegranate, and shared it with his friends. Luckily, on Halloween, when the witch is away, her kind, friendly sister welcomed the kids with cider and treats - and that’s no trick. But, wait, could the witch and the kind sister be one and the same? A close reading will generate lots of speculation. And don’t forget to think Halloween costume. Since my young readers have asked to be read this again and again, I can say with certainty that this is really a delightful Halloween story that will not disappoint. Doyen tells her story in a rhyme that never falters, and Wheeler’s the India ink and watercolor illustrations have just the right amount of eeriness to them so little ones won’t get scared (and yes, we did enjoy a few pomegranates, inspired by this story).

  16. 4 out of 5

    Lynn

    What a delicious surprise this was! Gorgeous language crafted into exuberant rhymes that have a Lewis Carrol feel to them. Eliza Wheeler's ink and watercolor illustrations nearly steal the show - oh those end pages! I love the story of the battle for the pomegranates that is enjoyed hugely on both sides. Lovely twist at the end underscores the smile that lies just under the surface of the tale. What a delicious surprise this was! Gorgeous language crafted into exuberant rhymes that have a Lewis Carrol feel to them. Eliza Wheeler's ink and watercolor illustrations nearly steal the show - oh those end pages! I love the story of the battle for the pomegranates that is enjoyed hugely on both sides. Lovely twist at the end underscores the smile that lies just under the surface of the tale.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Juniper

    Denise Doyen's close and clever rhythmic language and Eliza Wheeler's sweet, almost vintage illustrations pair beautifully in The Pomegranate Witch in a nostalgic ode to falls and follies past. A wonderful read aloud, with endless visual details to bring you back for multiple bedtime readings. Denise Doyen's close and clever rhythmic language and Eliza Wheeler's sweet, almost vintage illustrations pair beautifully in The Pomegranate Witch in a nostalgic ode to falls and follies past. A wonderful read aloud, with endless visual details to bring you back for multiple bedtime readings.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Tracy J Hora

    This was a little long for my taste in rhyming picture books. But, there were also some fun words that Denise Doyen put together to make new words that I find genius. The end was good which made it worth the read. It would be a hard one to read aloud over and over again, though, so 4 stars.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Lisa D

    Loved it ! Unique book!

  20. 4 out of 5

    Shiloah

    Super sweet!

  21. 5 out of 5

    Michelle (FabBookReviews)

    3.5 stars A perfect-for-Halloween story told in rhyme, Denise Doyen and Eliza Wheeler's The Pomegranate Witch reads like a modern fairy tale. This is a tale about a haunted pomegranate tree on abandoned farmhouse land; a tree filled with the most beautiful and delicious pomegranates ever seen and protected by the terrifying Pomegranate Witch. A group of brave children- and one fast-acting young boy- try to battle the witch for a taste of the elusive fruit. The Pomegranate Witch might make for a g 3.5 stars A perfect-for-Halloween story told in rhyme, Denise Doyen and Eliza Wheeler's The Pomegranate Witch reads like a modern fairy tale. This is a tale about a haunted pomegranate tree on abandoned farmhouse land; a tree filled with the most beautiful and delicious pomegranates ever seen and protected by the terrifying Pomegranate Witch. A group of brave children- and one fast-acting young boy- try to battle the witch for a taste of the elusive fruit. The Pomegranate Witch might make for a great witchy read aloud for elementary age and up students; Denise Doyen's writing is atmospheric and fun, while Tell Me a Tattoo Story artist Eliza Wheeler continues to delight with her beautiful illustrative style. I received a copy of this title courtesy of Raincoast Books in exchange for an honest review. All opinions and comments are my own.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Tasha

    Deftly written in rhyme, this picture book features a mouthwatering pomegranate tree that is watched over by a witch. Still, the children of the town desperately want a pomegranate from the tree and are willing to go to war with the witch to get one. The children tried again and again, but the witch stopped them with water cannons and rolling walnuts. In the end though, the children got one delectable pomegranate to split among themselves. The next day, the tree was picked bare and the war was o Deftly written in rhyme, this picture book features a mouthwatering pomegranate tree that is watched over by a witch. Still, the children of the town desperately want a pomegranate from the tree and are willing to go to war with the witch to get one. The children tried again and again, but the witch stopped them with water cannons and rolling walnuts. In the end though, the children got one delectable pomegranate to split among themselves. The next day, the tree was picked bare and the war was over. It was time for Halloween where a Kindly Lady gladly shared out pomegranates from her home. A lady that looks a lot like the glimpses readers get of the witch. Doyen’s writing is spooky and rich. This is not a picture book for preschoolers, since the writing demands a longer attention span. Elementary classes would enjoy it or it could be added to a read aloud for older children on Halloween. Perhaps with pomegranate seeds to try. Appropriate for ages 5-7.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Linda

    In poetic story form, this legend of children discovering, then preparing to storm the walls and take a pomegranate or two from the Pomegranate Witch who guards it with all the trickery you imagine witches have, except for one time a year, Halloween. At that time, everything changes. Denise Doyen's rhythm and rhyme entertain with excitement through the first pomegranate discovered, to the all-out war between the kids and this very scary witch. Her new words coined delight. The witch has a "kind In poetic story form, this legend of children discovering, then preparing to storm the walls and take a pomegranate or two from the Pomegranate Witch who guards it with all the trickery you imagine witches have, except for one time a year, Halloween. At that time, everything changes. Denise Doyen's rhythm and rhyme entertain with excitement through the first pomegranate discovered, to the all-out war between the kids and this very scary witch. Her new words coined delight. The witch has a "kinderbattle" with the kids. Branches "shivershook." The "witch's broom bristle-spanked a rear." It's a perfect witchy, not-too-scary, story, made exceptionally gorgeous by Eliza Wheeler's illustrations.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Arantzazú

    Want to know about the pomegranate pomegranate pomegranate war? This is a deliciously cozy story to tuck into on a long, dark night! Fabulous illustrations and beautiful, rhythmic language makes you want to linger and sing over each page. The ending is particularly delightful and rewarding-- maybe there's more to the Pomegranate Witch than meets the eye... in fact, maybe she embodies what is best about childhood! It's rare to encounter a story like this in pictures books-- one that is a true, long- Want to know about the pomegranate pomegranate pomegranate war? This is a deliciously cozy story to tuck into on a long, dark night! Fabulous illustrations and beautiful, rhythmic language makes you want to linger and sing over each page. The ending is particularly delightful and rewarding-- maybe there's more to the Pomegranate Witch than meets the eye... in fact, maybe she embodies what is best about childhood! It's rare to encounter a story like this in pictures books-- one that is a true, long-form story and is about one event/adventure, but reveals, through illustration and hypnotic language, that there's so much more here than what you thought. It would be a shame to dismiss this as only a Halloween-specific book.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    I enjoyed this story. When I think about books and their tales, I am always thinking about who I can share it with, will the kids I work with get it, and will they learn something from it. Not that books always need to teach but, in a school library setting, it's nice to share stories that build a child's knowledge base. Having said all this, as a Midwesterner, I wonder how many kids know what a pomegranate is? It would be fun to share this fruit with kids. I like that this is a picture book for I enjoyed this story. When I think about books and their tales, I am always thinking about who I can share it with, will the kids I work with get it, and will they learn something from it. Not that books always need to teach but, in a school library setting, it's nice to share stories that build a child's knowledge base. Having said all this, as a Midwesterner, I wonder how many kids know what a pomegranate is? It would be fun to share this fruit with kids. I like that this is a picture book for older children. There is challenging language and thought-provoking concepts. I wish it wasn't a Halloween story, because I want to read it to kids now. (February). The illustrations are full of so many details that add to the written story. A beautiful color pallet that is unique.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Jillian

    This one was interesting! It seems like it's a very old story, but it was very original all at the same time - I kept guessing that it would be a sort-of "Sandlot" plot, where the witch was actually just a nice old lady, or even a very protective lady who just wanted to be asked nicely instead of invaded. But I was wrong, and that actually made the story a little more interesting. (Or was I wrong? Based on the last line about who was who and which was which....THE WORLD MAY NEVER KNOW!) This one was interesting! It seems like it's a very old story, but it was very original all at the same time - I kept guessing that it would be a sort-of "Sandlot" plot, where the witch was actually just a nice old lady, or even a very protective lady who just wanted to be asked nicely instead of invaded. But I was wrong, and that actually made the story a little more interesting. (Or was I wrong? Based on the last line about who was who and which was which....THE WORLD MAY NEVER KNOW!)

  27. 4 out of 5

    Heidi-Marie

    Reading for CLAU long list poetry. I'm torn on this. I love the story. A lot. The illustrations were good, too. Went well with the story and have a kind of old-timey feel. But the poetry? It didn't flow for me very well. Seemed to push it. And the font was so small it was hard to read even for me! Not wise in a children's book. I'm back and forth on what to give this. Almost a 5 for the story. But a 2 for the poem and formatting. So we'll go in the middle with a 3. Think of it as a 3.5. Reading for CLAU long list poetry. I'm torn on this. I love the story. A lot. The illustrations were good, too. Went well with the story and have a kind of old-timey feel. But the poetry? It didn't flow for me very well. Seemed to push it. And the font was so small it was hard to read even for me! Not wise in a children's book. I'm back and forth on what to give this. Almost a 5 for the story. But a 2 for the poem and formatting. So we'll go in the middle with a 3. Think of it as a 3.5.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Alyisha

    I really enjoyed this! The illustrations are gorgeous (those end papers, especially)! The rhyme & story are stronger at the beginning than towards the end, but the beginning is *extremely* strong so that's not really saying anything too terrible. I think this could be a super-fun read around Halloween for 1st-3rd graders. :) I really enjoyed this! The illustrations are gorgeous (those end papers, especially)! The rhyme & story are stronger at the beginning than towards the end, but the beginning is *extremely* strong so that's not really saying anything too terrible. I think this could be a super-fun read around Halloween for 1st-3rd graders. :)

  29. 5 out of 5

    Sheri

    This was a lyrical poetic Halloween story about the old house in the country with a pomegranate tree. A witch protects her tree from the children until they declare a pomegranate war. The children try and try to get a pomegranate from the witch's tree. Do they succeed? A good read for a class read aloud and then the ending tells of changes on Halloween each year. This was a lyrical poetic Halloween story about the old house in the country with a pomegranate tree. A witch protects her tree from the children until they declare a pomegranate war. The children try and try to get a pomegranate from the witch's tree. Do they succeed? A good read for a class read aloud and then the ending tells of changes on Halloween each year.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Natalie Harvey

    What a creative tale! What’s not to love about a pomegranate witch who guards her fruit tree vehemently against the neighborhood ruffians? And in delightful verse that begs to be read aloud (after several rehearsals to get it just right)! Reminded me of The Dunderheads meets Miss Nelson Is Missing but in a completely new and refreshing way. 👍

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