Winnie the Witch (ISBN 0192726838) is a children's fantasy picture book of thirty-two pages that was first published in the United Kingdom in 1987. It was written by the Australian-born author Valerie Thomas and illustrated by the Zimbabwean-born artist Korky Paul. It won the 1988 Red House Children's Book Award.
The book's title character lives in a house that is entirely black on both the inside and the outside. As a result, she finds it difficult to see her black cat Wilbur. Winnie makes two attempts to solve this problem by waving her magic wand, saying the magic word "Abracadabra" and changing Wilbur's color. Winnie succeeds in changing Wilbur's color but there are humorous unexpected consequences.
The popularity of the book Winnie the Witch led to the publication of two different series of sequel books and an animated TV series.
The house where Winnie the Witch lives is completely black on the outside and completely black on the inside. The furniture is all black too, as are the carpet, the bed, its sheets and blankets. This means that, when Winnie's black cat Wilbur closes his green eyes, Winnie cannot see him at all. She often trips over him and sits on him by accident.
One day, after having tripped over Wilbur on the stairs, Winnie decides to put an end to her problem by using her magic to make Wilbur green. Afterwards, Winnie has no difficulty seeing Wilbur inside the house. Unfortunately, Winnie finds it impossible to see Wilbur when he goes outside and sits on the grass. Winnie decides to use her magic to change Wilbur's color again. She gives him a red head, blue whiskers, a yellow body, purple legs and a pink tail. Winnie has no difficulty seeing Wilbur in her house and garden. Wilbur, however, hates his new color because he knows that he looks ridiculous. He climbs to the top of the tallest tree to hide because he feels miserable.
Winnie, who loves Wilbur, hates the thought of him being miserable. She magically makes him black again. So that she will have no difficulty seeing her cat, Winnie changes her black house into a yellow one with a red roof. She changes the colors of her carpets, her bed and all of her furniture too.
Sequels and spin-offs
A sequel, Winnie in Winter, was published in 1996. A further seventeen Winnie the Witch picture books by Valerie Thomas and Korky Paul were published between 1999 and 2017. A second "young fiction" series of nineteen short story anthologies, aimed at slightly older children than the picture books, has also been published. The black and white illustrations in the "young fiction" books are by Korky Paul. They are credited as being authored by Laura Owen, rather than by Valerie Thomas, although the lack of information about Laura Owen on the books' official website suggests that the name may be a pseudonym used by Valerie Thomas.
An animated TV series based on the book series has been produced. The first episode was first shown on Discovery Kids in Latin America on December 17, 2016 and on Channel 5 in the United Kingdom on December 24, 2016.
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- The book Winnie the Witch on the official Winnie the Witch website.
- There is an article on Winnie the Witch on the Halloween Wiki.