Do Witches Make Fishes? A dinnertime cautionary tale

November 24, 2010 at 11:21 am Leave a comment

Do Witches Make Fishes? by Jason Mayo; illustrated by Justin Wolfson; published by AuthorHouse, Bloomington, IN; 2010.

There once was a boy who was tired of carrots and fishes.  He went on a hunger strike, holding out for candy and sweets.  His frustrated mother transformed into a kichen witch who offered him a choice: eat dinner or never, ever have the chance to eat any sweet treats again.  His choice was clear.  So with one last wish, he chose his mommy’s carrots and fishes with the option for treats and sweets in the future.

Jason Mayo’s rhyming tale of an all-too-familiar mealtime ritual reads aloud wonderfully well.  The rhythm is perfect and his words almost force the reader into using narrative voices and deep drama. Many preschoolers will find themselves drawn into the story that mirrors their own mealtime dramas.  Justin Wolfson’s illustrations capture the story well.  Changes in perspective from page to page encourage children to keep their eyes on the book during the story telling.  Often there were interesting details to discover in the pictures as well.

As I read the book through the first time, I found myself stumbling with the sentence structure.  The irregular pattern to the rhymes makes it difficult to read silently.  While it is remarkably easy to read aloud, I think emerging readers may struggle with the structure if they read to themselves.  Additionally, I thought the ending was abrupt.  I think I wanted the illustration of the happy mother and child reunion to occur after the boy makes his wish.  As for the illustrations, my only complaint is that the duotone fleck pattern on each page was often distracting, especially on the pages with great detail or extreme close ups.

Librarians could use this effectively as a read aloud in story times about dinner times or even at Halloween.  Visit the author’s website at

(Note: A free copy of this book was provided by the publisher for me to review forStories for Children Magazine. I include the review here, with some additional thoughts.  Please note that all books I review for Stories for Children Magazine are donated to a local tutoring program for homeless and marginalized families.)


Entry filed under: Picture Book. Tags: , , , , .

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Disclaimers: Per the FTC regulations, please note that sometimes books are received for review for free by publishers or authors. All books (ARCs, galleys, library or purchased) will be reviewed fairly; no special consideration is given to anything reviewed on this blog. In addition, I make every attempt to avoid spoilers. Sometimes they happen inadvertently or because they are important to defend a review; not all spoilers have been removed or fixed. This disclaimer is a general statement included as a warning to readers.

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