Book review: Kelly Barnhill’s ‘The Witch’s Boy’

April 11, 2015

witch's boyBy Kay Brennan. Hesperia Community Library Director.

This is a story perfect for any age but written for upper elementary readers. Ned was a little boy when he and his identical twin built a raft to sail to the ocean. The raft tips and only Ned was rescued.

Ned and his parents live in a small village, and his mother is the village witch. She uses her magic only for good — never to fulfill a greedy wish. She is a healer and understands that without a firm hand, the magic can be very dangerous. Ned is told that he can never touch the magic in its

clay jar and that if he does, he will be destroyed.

On the other side of the mysterious forest lives Aine, the daughter of a bandit. She understands the mysteries of the forest and keeps house for her father and his band of thieves. Her father disappears for days at a time and returns with treasure. One day her father goes to Ned’s village.  He has heard that there is magic there and he wants it for himself. Ned’s mother is gone, and the bandits have taken over and are looking for the magic. Ned must save the magic from the bandits, and Aine must save her father from the soldiers.

This is a great adventure book that is also a story of learning to trust and make moral choices.