The Little Broomstick
By Mary Stewart
(Taken from Goodreads)
A black cat that needs to rescue its brother from a witch’s spell enlists the help of a lonely ten-year-old Mary Smith.
It is Tib the black cat who leads Mary to the strange flower in the woods. When she discovers a little broomstick shortly afterwards, she is astonished to feel it jump in to action. Before she can gather her wits, it is whisking her over the treetops, above the clouds, and in to the grounds of Endor College, where: ‘All Examinations Coached for by A Competent Staff of Fully-Qualified Witches.’ Here she discovers evidence of a terrible experiment in transformation – deformed and mutant animals imprisoned in cages. In the moment after her broomstick takes off, she realises that Tib has been captured. Returning to the College the following day, she manages to free the animals, but not before the Head of the college, Miss Mumblechook, and her colleague, Doctor Dee, have seen her. Mary manages to flee… but the evil pair are in hot pursuit!
I watched “Mary and the Witch’s Flower” on Netflix recently and at the end of the film my partner saw that it was based on a book. I was like, “I would read that” and he said if you wanna get it get it. So I did. I read it almost immediately from the time that I received it. It was a rather short book, but I found because I had seen the film that it became a little harder to get through. The first half very much shows that the film was a faithful adaptation. It is after about the halfway point though that things get a little wibbly-wobbly in terms of the story staying the same.
There are minor changes that made me enjoy the book for its own uniqueness. It is a children’s book, but it can still be enjoyed by anyone. The book feels very british and very much in the same type of vein of the “Chronicles of Narnia” or that style of children’s literature. I initially had issues reading it, as I mentioned, but once I got past the hump of the stuff that was verbatim like the film, I found myself really enjoying this weird little rump of a story. It is not a serious story by any means and it is wonderful in its simplicity, which is always needed when the book is directed towards children. Yes, they can understand large concepts, but it is also nice to have stories that simply are not doing that. That a child can get lost within and enjoy as a form of escapism. This is one of those types of stories.
My favorite character for this book would be Tibs, the cat. He adds an alliance to the book that feels necessary for most of the book, until another character is introduced. He feels like a faithful companion to Mary, but also one that simply wants to get his brother, Gibs, back at any cost. It is rare to understand and know that an animal in a book has a motive, unless of course the animal is magical. I will spoil this part, Tibs is not magical. He is an ordinary cat, which makes this characterization of him even more poignant and enjoyable. The journey towards getting Gibs back is an enjoyable one full of ups and downs and rights and lefts. When you complete this book you won’t feel like you wasted the time you took to do so. I know I didn’t and I suggest it. The 3 magic ball rating is because I had seen the film first and enjoyed it more. Also because, as I have been saying, 5-stars are reserved solely for those items that I find to be truly wonderful and probably will be remembered by me forever and ever.
“The Little Broomstick” was adapted into the film “mary and the Witch’s Flower” which I will be reviewing here TOMORROW!