“Little Witch Hazel: A Year in the Forest” by Phoebe Wahl (illus.)

I enjoy reading picture books, so I requested this one from NetGalley when I saw it was available. I’ve never read any of the author’s books before. Instead, I was drawn to this because of its title. I like stories about witches, whether it’s a novel, comic book, manga, or picture book.

(Although I received an e-ARC from the publisher through NetGalley, my review below is my honest opinion of the book.)


Genre

Fantasy

Series

n/a

Pub

September 21, 2021

From Goodreads

An earthy and beautiful collection of four stories that celebrate the seasons, nature, and life, from award-winning author-illustrator Phoebe Wahl.

Little Witch Hazel is a tiny witch who lives in the forest, helping creatures big and small. She’s a midwife, an intrepid explorer, a hard worker and a kind friend.

In this four-season volume, Little Witch Hazel rescues an orphaned egg, goes sailing on a raft, solves the mystery of a haunted stump and makes house calls to fellow forest dwellers. But when Little Witch Hazel needs help herself, will she get it in time?

Little Witch Hazel is a beautiful ode to nature, friendship, wild things and the seasons that only Phoebe Wahl could create: an instant classic and a book that readers will pore over time and time again. (Goodreads)


My thoughts

This was such a warm, relaxing read. Little Witch Hazel is a children’s picture book containing four short stories, one for each season. They all center on Hazel, a little witch who lives in Mosswood Forest.

The story begins in spring, when Hazel finds and takes home an orphaned egg, and moves on to summer, when Hazel learns that taking a day off to relax and chill with friends is also beneficial and needed. In autumn, Hazel helps her neighbors unearth the cause of a haunted stump, and in winter we see that those who Hazel helps also care for her.

Although Hazel is called a witch, we do not see her work any magic. Instead, it seems that her tools are her knowledge of nature and the kindness and respect she shows all creatures. Also, Hazel is quite small, about the same size as the forest creatures and elves in her community. It made me wonder if she’s an elf too.

The story strongly focuses on the bonds created through friendship as well as how friendships form from being an active member in one’s community. Hazel is always out helping others in need. She seems quite a busy little witch.

Art style

It’s so cute! I like the medium Wahl uses to create the illustrations because of the thick texture it gives the illustrations. I wonder what she used… I’m guessing oil pastels or maybe color pencils due to the fine details in some scenes.

What I love most about the illustrations are the colors. It’s overwhelmingly green with a good bit of brown, since the story is set in the forest, but there are also pops of red, hints of blue, and some white. The colors have a richness to them that makes them pop, and I think it’s because of texture of whatever medium Wahl used to color them.

As for the characters, I like how diverse they are and I also like how Hazel is drawn. She’s not drawn to resemble witches as they are often portrayed in pop culture and is often donned in green or blue, whether dress, pullovers, cardigan, or sweater, and rocks a red pointy hat. I like that.

Unfortunately, I’m unable to show any samples of the illustrations since I read an electronic copy.

Overall: ★★★☆☆

A sweet story about friendship that takes you through the seasons with a little witch who enjoys helping others.

Buy | Borrow | Bypass

Although I really want to get a copy because I want to see how the illustrations look when on the page and what the end pages look like.

4 thoughts on ““Little Witch Hazel: A Year in the Forest” by Phoebe Wahl (illus.)

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