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Great Illustrated Books

Revenge of the Witch (The Last Apprentice series)

By Joseph Delaney, Illustrated by Patrick Arrasmith

Greenwillow, 2005
Pages : 368
Suggested Ages: 10 and Up
ISBN: 9780060766184

Fifth and sixth graders who think they like scary books are going to clamor for this one, the first in a series of five, once they see the dark and foreboding moonlit cover, but let me warn you—it's really scary. Readers will not sleep at night if they’re foolhardy enough to open the covers after sunset. Thomas Ward, the left-handed 12-year-old seventh son of a seventh son, has the gift of seeing things that others can’t. With no more prospects in life than milking cows and spreading manure on his father’s farm, he quite likes the idea of becoming the apprentice to the Spook, a solitary old man who walks the County, protecting farms and villages from witches, boggarts, ghosts, and gasts. On his first day, Thomas must prove his worth. The Spook gives him a terrifying test—he must spend the night alone in the dank and grim haunted house at number thirteen Watery Lane, keep his candle lit, and find his way down to the cellar at midnight.

Tom's riveting narrative is probably far too chilling and gruesome as a read-aloud, but it flows elegantly like an old English folktale. At the back is his journal with secrets for survival, the notes he takes on how to bind a boggart, the four types of witches, and other useful information he learns firsthand, some of which he foolishly disregards, like never trusting a village girl with pointy shoes.

Reviewed by : JF.

Themes : ENGLAND. FANTASY. SUPERNATURAL.

If you love this book, then try:

Billingsley, Franny. The Folk Keeper. Simon & Schuster, 1999.



Dahl, Roald. The Witches. Farrar, 1983.



Delaney, Joseph. Attack of the Fiend. (The Last Apprentice, Book Four) Greenwillow, 2008.



Delaney, Joseph. Curse of the Bane. (The Last Apprentice, Book Two) Greenwillow, 2006.



Delaney, Joseph. Night of the Soul Stealer. (The Last Apprentice, Book Three) Greenwillow, 2007.



Delaney, Joseph. Wrath of the Bloodeye. (The Last Apprentice, Book Five) Greenwillow, 2008.



Gaiman, Neil. Coraline. HarperCollins, 2002.



Higgins, F. E. The Black Book of Secrets. Feiwel and Friends, 2007.



Jennings, Paul. Unreal!: Eight Surprising Stories. Viking, 1992.



LaFevers, R. L. Theodosia and the Serpents of Chaos. Houghton Mifflin, 2007.



Pratchett, Terry. The Wee Free Men. HarperCollins, 2003.



Rowling, J. K. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. Scholastic, 1998.



Schwartz, Alvin. More Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark. HarperCollins, 1984.



Schwartz, Alvin. Scary Stories 3: More Tales to Chill Your Bones. HarperCollins, 1991.



Schwartz, Alvin. Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark. HarperCollins, 1981.



Stroud, Jonathan. The Amulet of Samarkand. Hyperion, 2003.

Critics have said

Delaney's rural, quasi-medieval world is populated by a variety of magic creatures, and readers will look forward to discovering more of them, along with Thomas, as the series continues. A solid choice, particularly for middle school boys.
School Library Journal