KidLit: Do Witches Make Fishes? by Jason Mayo
Just in time for Halloween…a book that tackles witches, fishes, and fussy eaters. A boy’s mom makes him lovely dinners featuring such healthful dishes as carrots and fish. There’s only one problem. He’d rather eat candy. And if you saw a fish head on the dinner table, so might you.
Illustrated in true witchy-style by Justin Wolfson, Do Witches Make Fishes? begins, “There once was a boy who never ate dinner. His mother would kvetch, “You can’t get much thinner!” And the boy would reply. “I hate all your dishes and besides, I like candy not carrots and fishes.”
Any kids’ book that includes the word “kvetch” is a winner in my book. Actually, the lad in question has a legitimate complaint, although he could have been more tactful delivering it. There’s an awful lot of fish and carrots served in Do Witches Make Fishes? Even lobster and corn-on-the-cob might get old if you ate it all the time, but fish and carrots...every meal? Yuck.
During a mealtime confrontation with his mother, the boy closes his eyes and makes a wish. As wishes are prone to do when the wisher isn’t specific enough, this one went awry. When he opens his eyes, no more mom (cool!). She’s been replaced with an ugly, old, warty witch (not so cool).
Now, mealtime confrontations with mom may not be pleasant, but what happens when mom disappears and a wicked witch comes bubbling up out of a cauldron? And what might she be cooking in that pot?
Children will enjoy the full-page illustrations that accompany Do Witches Make Fishes?, as well as turning up their noses at all those carrots and fish. They can boo-hiss the witch and sympathize with the boy who got himself into this smackdown. In the end, will he eat fish and carrots?
Author Jason Mayo has chosen to write his first children’s book in rhyme, which is often the downfall of many authors. He handles it well, with a few bumps along the way. Do Witches Make Fishes? is a grand story for Halloween--a time when there is a little too much candy for kids like the protagonist of this tale.
Bottom Line: Would I buy Do Witches Make Fishes? Yes, it’s a great Halloween gift for young readers.