THE most unusual ‘witch book’ this Halloween has to be The Befana Drama by Gianna Hartwright,
The recently released book, which is ideal for children aged eight years and above, not only sprinkles witch dust of the most wondrous kind, but also throws in Christmassy magic for good measure, making it the perfect read for either celebration.
The Befana is not just any old witch, but a witch who has been Italy’s present bringer for centuries, bringing coal or candy to naughty or good children.
She is so famous, she even has her own festival, post box and pretend Befana house. In fact, life is just perfect for this witch . . . until she learns her festival is being ‘downsized’ and her popularity lower than Santa’s.
That is more than this particular witch can bear and so she flies into a rage which sends candy balls bouncing down the street.
This starts a global adventure by broomstick that sees her flying to Dubai, Germany, Russia, America, Iceland and Lapland, buying enough coal and candy to try to get her own back by taking over Santa’s deliveries.
On the way, she does some of her legendary broomies and cartwheels while flying in the night skies and adjusts her glasses to night vision!
The complications are many. For a start, this witch was once engaged to Santa and still has a soft spot for him. Secondly, her spells are a little wonky and wayward. Thirdly, she needs to have her beloved broom adapted, which means visiting the ‘Most Fearsome Feller in Folklore’ in his tree dwelling in the Black Forest, as he is the best ‘adaptation artisan’ in the broom world.
Added to that, she needs a disguise, so has to rejuvenate herself with the assistance of Old Father Time to become a much cooler witch called ‘Bef’ and not The Befana.
But is this enough for her to overcome fearsome foe and the very vain Capriccia Claus and the sly 81st elf?
To do so, this particular witch needs allies . . . but is a boy band, the best reindeer whisperer the world has ever seen and an exiled-to-Siberia tailor of any use to her?
Will she actually remember or be able to cast any of the spells in her Grandissimo Libro di Scongiuri? Only the lucky young reader will find out!
More information and a Key Stage 2 education pack linked to the book is available at www.thebefanadrama.com