Monday, 21 April 2014

Room on the Broom

Author                             : Julia Donaldson
Illustrations by                   : Axel Scheffler
Age range recommended : 4 – 7 years
Theme                              : Witches, Fantasy, Friendship, Rhymes

Opening lines –  
The witch had a cat
      and a very tall hat,
And long ginger hair
      which she wore in a plait.

How the cat purred 
      and how the witch grinned, 
As they sat on their broomstick
      and flew through the wind.

Introduction and Synopsis –
A witch sets off on a journey on her broom and takes in a cat for company. One by one her accessories keep flying off in the wild wind (hat, bow, wand) and different creatures help her to find them (dog, green bird, frog). In return they all want a lift on her magical broom and she complies. Finally the broom snaps into two, unable to bear the cumulative weight, sending all the travellers flying down in different directions. The witch tumbles downwards into what seems like a bog. To her horror, it turns out to be smoke from the fire spewed out by a horrific dragon, who was planning to have ‘witch and chips’ for tea! What happens next? Is the witch doomed? Or do her friends step up and return the kind gesture she bestowed upon them?

Why did my caterpillar and I like this book?
ME - 
Another gem from the Julia – Axel dream team. The book is a delight in rhyme. There is repetition (is there room on the broom for a  ____  like me?) to ensure little readers and listeners keep up with the story. New words are introduced with clever usage of rhyme and song– (ear-splitting shriek/bow in her beak, licking his lips/witch without chips, yowl and a growl). Axel Scheffler’s illustrations, as usual, are charming. He actually creates an appealing, smiling witch!  The message depicted is lasting friendships can be formed in the most unlikely of places and among the most unlikely of persons. It is for this reason that I feel that the book will appeal to older children in the range as well. It also gives opportunity for pretend play among friends and early and level two readers also would find it interesting.

A loved the idea of a kind witch. The book breaks the stereotype in this matter. Even in the illustrations the witch is shown with a kind face, wearing a skirt and a full-sleeved top, a bow on her fully braided hair and a smile on each page. That is fascinating to a little child who has only seen evil witches in conventional fairy tales. The drawing of a brand new broom with seats for everybody ( believe it or not, with a running shower for the frong and a cushioned nest for the bird too) was especially delightful for her!

Online link -
We found this delightful video of the story here. Enjoy!

The cocoon rates it -


For the unconventional idea of a kind witch and to put across the message that what goes around, comes around, in eager little minds.


  1. Wow! I am so glad I stumbled upon this blog. This one is for keeps. I am going to refer back to this when my LO grows up.

  2. I love this book. I read it to my students every Halloween. The rhymes are very easy for the kids to keep up with, and as you say, the repetition gives them something they understand to anticipate. Great choice here.